In 2004 CFI spawned the Warrior Darter as a surrogate species to the Vermilion Darter, Etheostoma chermocki. Both of these fish are native to Alabama in the Black Warrior River system. The Warrior Darter can be separated from the Vermilion Darter by the narrow orange stripe along its lower side; in E. chermocki, this stripe is broad and red or vermilion. The body of E. bellator is more slender with a longer tail area and shorter dorsal fins. Collection records of the Warrior Darter exist from Valley Creek and the Locust, Mulberry, and Sipsey fork systems, all of which drain the Cumberland Plateau.
CFI produced over 600 Warrior Darters in 2004, showing that it could be very fiesable to apply these breeding techniques to the Vermilion Darter should propagation look to be a good way of protecting this species and extending their range. The biggest threat to the Vermilion Darter is urbanization though, so habitat protection has to come first.