In order to investigate a potential hybrid zone between the candy darter, Etheostoma osburni, and variegate darter, Etheostoma variatum, and examine population variation within E. osburni, a suite of primers for 15 polymorphic microsatellite loci were developed. The average number of alleles per locus was 5.5 in E. osburni and 7.6 in E. variatum, and the average observed heterozygosities were 62.5% and 71.4%, respectively. There were no deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and no observed linkage disequilibrium after Bonferroni correction. The utility of these primers was also tested in 11 species of darters representing all four genera of darters. Success of cross-species amplification was largely consistent with phylogenetic relationships of darters. ?? 2007 The Authors.