Sand darters live in streams and small rivers with a sandy bottom, and they cover their body in the sand, leaving their eyes, nose and mouth sticking out. The body is long (up to about three and one-fourth inches in length) and transparent. There is one spine in the anal fin. Twelve to 17 dark-green blotches occur along the back with 10-19 horizontal dark-green blotches on each side.
This fish prefers areas of good water quality and a water depth of at least 24 inches. It can be found in Illinois in the Vermilion, Embarras and Little Wabash river systems. The eastern sand darter eats small crustaceans and insects. It is listed as a threatened species in Illinois mainly due to the effects of siltation, impoundments and declining water quality.