Found mainly in still or slow moving water, the darter spends a lot of its time drying out. It looks totally ragged just after it has settled on a rock or low tree branch.
However, after a while all the feathers settle back into place. Its shape is rather matronly with a long graceful neck attached to a rather dumpy body.
That large body is only seen when the darter is out of the water. When spotted in the water, it has a snake-like appearance with its body fully submerged. Its head slips below the water with scarcely a ripple and it often reappears just as suddenly and just as unexpectedly.
Of course, every now and then that reappearance is a little more noticeable.