The crystal darter, Crystallaria asprella, is a small North American fish found in small, moderate, and swift rivers in the drainage basins of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. It is now extirpated from a majority of its range along the Ohio River. The crystal darter and the diamond darter are the only members of their genus.
Until recently, the crystal darter's species name was Ammocrypta asprella, but this name is now considered invalid. When this fish was discovered in 1878, it was given the name Pleurolepis asprellus.
The crystal darter can grow to 5 in in length. It is olive-colored to tan with four dark saddles extending downward to its lateral line, a brownish stripe, and a whitish belly. Its maximum reported age is three years.
The crystal darter is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN on its Red List because of "a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat." It is also listed as a special concern species in Minnesota by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and in Arkansas by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; as an endangered species in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and in Missouri by the Missouri Department of Conservation; as an extirpated species in Illinois by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources; and as a tier 1, or critically impaired, species in Mississippi by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks because of "extreme rarity (five or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres) or because of some factor(s) making it vulnerable to extirpation."
- Gilbert, Carter R. and Williams, James D. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes: North America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. 356.
- World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1996). Crystallaria asprella. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 15 August 2006.
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (2006). Fish - Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species. Retrieved on 15 August 2006.
- FishBase (1991). Species Summary. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (2006). The Natural Heritage Inventory Working List: Rare Fish. Retrieved on 31 August 2006.
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources (2006).Illinois Fish Families/Species. Retrieved on 31 August 2006.
- Missouri Department of Conservation (2006).Missouri Species and Communities of Conservation Concern. Retrieved on 31 August 2006.
- Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (2006). Species of Special Concenrn. Retrieved on 31 August 2006.
- Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (2006). Endangered Species of Mississippi Retrieved 31 August 2006.
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