The yellowcheek darter is a member of the darter subgenus Nothonotus with a very restricted range in the upper Little Red River drainage of Arkansas. Yellowcheek darters are currently considered as a “Candidate” species by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Impoundment and habitat destruction have significantly reduced the known range of this Arkansas endemic (Robison and Buchanan 1988).
In 2003 CFI spawned these for the first time with limited success. Spawning started early to mid-May and lasted through July. Eggs tended to be clustered in finer substrate, and many times these clusters were found in association with a rock in a male’s territory. In 2003 there was a high degree of infertility was seen and so new breeders were obtained for later spawning attempts. Even with these new breeders it seemed there was an infertility problem with spawned eggs, or possibly the eggs were extremely sensitive to fungal and bacterial pathogens in the substrate. The eggs and larvae of this species are extremely small, newly hatched larvae being only 4.5 - 5mm long. Modification of rearing methods in 2006 yielded better success with this species with a total production of over 30 individuals, a drastic improvement over years of producing only a few here and there. Since then CFI has made many modifications to feeding and rearing extremely small larvae and we are confident that we could improve production in this species of fish if needed.