A rather stout, mottled-brown darter without definite crossbars on the back. A useful character for identifying this species is the pale stripe that usually is evident along the lateral line. A dusky vertical bar appears on the cheek beneath the eye. The back is a more or less uniform light brown, contrasting with the dark brown and more definitely mottled sides. The belly is yellowish. All fins except pectorals banded with brown lines. Breeding males lack bright colors.
Gill covers are broadly connected by a membrane across the throat. The midline of the belly without enlarged and modified scales. Lateral line complete or nearly so, extending well beyond the soft dorsal fin.