A slender darter with a series of 10-15 small, indistinct, dark blotches or bars along the midside. Head very long and slender. One or more enlarged and modified scales lie between the pelvic fin bases; the breast is naked except for a few enlarged and modified scales.
Back and upper sides yellowish-brown, mottled and spotted with darker brown; lower sides and belly creamy white. Midside with a series of small, dusky blotches, ending at base of tail fin in a small black spot. Spinous dorsal dusky with an outer orange band; soft dorsal and tail fin faintly banded with brownish lines. Breeding males have considerable black pigment on body and fins.
Similar to the slenderhead darter, but with a longer snout (the eye closer to the rear edge of the preopercle than to the tip of the snout); and with 7 (not the usual 6) branchiostegal rays (slender, curving bones in the membrane at the lower margin of the gill cover).