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Rainbow-colored candy darter fish listed as endangered

November 20, 2018

A vibrant rainbow-colored fish that lives in a handful of Appalachian streams has been listed as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the candy darter has lost nearly half its population since the 1930s. The fish typically live in the picturesque mountain streams that cut through parts of southern West Virginia and western Virginia.

The seldom-seen fish are about the size of a cigar and are covered in vibrant bands of teal, red and orange. They’re considered one of the most beautiful freshwater fish in the world.

Their biggest threat is “hybridization.” The variegate darter fish species was somehow introduced into some of those streams and is mating with the candy darters. Another threat is development that pollutes the streams with sediment.

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