Habitat: This fish prefers stream riffles of moderate current over gravel bottoms. Water must be of high quality and free of suspended sediments.
Behavior: This madtom is an omnivorous bottom feeder - it eats a wide variety of plant and animal life, which it finds with its sensory barbels hanging down in front of its mouth. Little is known of its reproductive habits, though biologists believe it spawns in summer and migrates downstream in the fall. Scioto madtoms have venomous glands in their spines which cause irritation if touched.
Why It's Endangered:
The Scioto madtom is thought to be endemic to the Scioto River basin in central Ohio. Only 18 individuals have ever been collected. All were caught along a single stretch of Big Darby Creek. Because no populations of Scioto madtoms have been found since 1957, no one knows exactly what are the reasons for its decline.
Although this madtom may be extinct, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is keeping the fish on the Endangered Species list. If any Scioto madtoms are discovered, they will have immediate protection under the Endangered Species Act.