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Etheostoma obama, or the spangled darter, is a species of darter that was formerly included in the species Etheostoma stigmaeum. In 2012, five distinct species were classified and named after former U.S. presidents and a vice-president, based on their leadership in conservation. E. obama was named after Barack Obama, for his work "particularly in the areas of clean energy and environmental protection, and because he is one of our first leaders to approach conservation and environmental protection from a more global vision," according to one of the scientists, Steve Layman, who named the new species.
Layman, of Geosyntec Consultants, and Rick Mayden, Department of Biology at Saint Louis University, studied the freshwater darters, most of which are native to the U. S. states of Alabama and Tennessee. Darters are in the perch family, its smallest species, and are named for their tendency to dart around and under rocks and sediments in streambeds. While they were studying color variation of Etheostoma stigmaeum, the speckled darter, Layman and Mayden discovered that there were populations with enough variation that they should be described as unique species. The new species will be described in the Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History.
E. obama males have bright orange and iridescent blue speckles, stripes, and checked patterns, with a bright fan-shaped fin that has orange stripes. The males can reach up to 48 millimetres (1.9 in) long, while the females reach 43 millimetres (1.7 in) long. Twenty-nine percent of the studied fish had palatine teeth. E. obama is endemic to the Duck River and the Buffalo River, both in Tennessee.
- Crew, Becky (November 29, 2012). "All the Presidents’ fish: Five new species named after Obama, Clinton, Roosevelt, Carter and Gore". Scientific American Blogs. Scientific American. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Goldenberg, Suzanne (November 29, 2012). "Spawned in the USA: new fish named after Barack Obama". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 November 2012.