We examined the life history of Blackbanded Darters (Percina nigrofasciata) from two streams in the Choctawhatchee River drainage, Florida, over a three-year study period. Blackbanded Darters from Turkey Creek were longer than fish from Ten Mile Creek; however, size-adjusted clutch and egg sizes were similar between populations. Larger females produced larger clutches, whereas egg size did not vary with female body size. Seasonally, clutch sizes were greater in May than in August. When contrasted with previous studies of Blackbanded Darters in Alabama and Louisiana, the reproductive season of Blackbanded Darters in Florida was unusually long, ceasing for only a few months in late fall. The reproductive season was longer in Turkey Creek than in Ten Mile Creek. Differences in thermal regime among streams may explain differences in life history traits among local and distant populations of Blackbanded Darters. This research, alone and in combination with previous studies of this species, emphasizes two main points. First, it reaffirms that life history studies based on a single locality or conducted at a single point in time may fail to capture the full range of variation in life history traits. Second, it highlights the extensive phenotypic variation found in species with broad geographic ranges. Such species lend themselves to comparative and experimental research on patterns and causes of life history variation.
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Vol. 2012 • No. 4