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Keywords:

  • colour analysis;
  • darters;
  • Etheostoma flabellare;
  • Etheostoma zonale;
  • parental care

This study examined how colour varies across season and sex in the fantail darter Etheostoma flabellare and the banded darter Etheostoma zonale. Etheostoma flabellare has male-only parental care and exhibited slight sexual dimorphism in overall colour, with no discernible effect of season on colour; whereas E. zonale does not have parental care and exhibited substantial sexual dimorphism in colour, but only in the breeding season. Additionally, antipredator behaviour of E. zonale was compared between males that were fully coloured during the breeding season and males that were partially coloured at that time, but the effects of colour and season were not consistent across males.