Photo by David & Lynn Eisenhour
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Noturus elegans Taylor 1969
Identification: The Elegant Madtom has a long, slender body that is yellow-gray to brown above and has 3 or 4 dark saddles. A brown blotch on the base of the dorsal fin extends up the front edge of the fin. There is no black blotch at the top of the dorsal fin, but there is a dark blotch in the lower half of the adipose fin. The caudal fin has 2 or 3 dark bands: 1 in the middle of the fin and 1 or 2 near the edge. The origin of the adipose fin is over the anal fin, and the adipose fin is joined to the caudal fin. The short pectoral spine has 5-9 large teeth on the rear edge and small teeth along the front. The caudal fin has a straight edge or is slightly rounded. There are usually 15-17 anal rays. To 3 in. (7.4 cm) total length.
Range: The Elegant Madtom is found in the upper Green River drainage of Kentucky and Tennessee. It is generally common.
Habitat: The Elegant Madtom lives in rocky riffles and runs of clear creeks and small rivers.
Similar species: The Scioto Madtom, N. trautmani. The Saddled Madtom, N. fasicatus, has large dark bar on caudal fin base, more prominent saddles, dark blotch to edge (or nearly to edge) of adipose fin. The Chucky Madtom, N. crypticus, has long adipose fin beginning at dorsal fin, prominent black specks on cheek.