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Gambusia holbrooki  Girard, 1859

Eastern mosquitofish
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Gambusia holbrooki
Picture by Delgado Saez, J.A.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Cyprinodontiformes (Rivulines, killifishes and live bearers) > Poeciliidae (Poeciliids) > Poeciliinae
Etymology: Gambusia: Gambusia: From the Cuban term, Gambusino, which means "nothing", usually in the context of a joke or a farce. Fishing for gambusinos = when one catches nothing (Ref. 45335).   More on author: Girard.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; pH range: 6.0 - 8.8; dH range: ? - 40; potamodromous (Ref. 51243).   Subtropical; 15°C - 35°C (Ref. 13371); 40°N - 31°N, 89°W - 74°W

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 3.5 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1672); 8.0 cm TL (female)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7; Anal spines: 1; Anal soft rays: 9

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

North America: Atlantic and Gulf Slope drainages from New Jersey south to Alabama in USA (Ref. 5723). Introduced to many countries for mosquito control, but had rare to non-existing effects on mosquitoes, and negative to perhaps neutral impact on native fishes (Ref. 12217). Established throughout southern Europe; introduced worldwide in tropical and subtropical countries (Ref. 59043).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Adults occur in standing to slow-flowing water, mostly in vegetated ponds and lakes, backwaters and quiet pools of steams (Ref. 5723), typically seen shoaling at the edges (Ref. 44894). They also frequent brackish water (Ref. 5723). Adults feed on small terrestrial insects usually in the drift and amongst aquatic plants, actively selecting very small prey (Ref. 6154). Also observed to take in mosquito larvae (Ref. 41168). Introduced worldwide. Introductions to Europe have seriously threatened many endemic species (Ref. 59043). It is now widely accepted that their effect has been minimal and even may have exacerbated the problem due to their voracious appetite for natural invertebrate predators of mosquito larvae (Ref. 44894).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Matures at 4-6 weeks; 3 generations can be produced in one year. Gestation lasts 3-4 weeks. Brood may reach up to 354 young, but is generally around 40-60 (Ref. 1672, 59043).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p. (Ref. 5723)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Potential pest (Ref. 12257)




Human uses

Aquarium: commercial
FAO(Publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00871 (0.00624 - 0.01216), b=3.27 (3.19 - 3.35), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.1   ±0.2 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (tm<1; multiple spawning per year).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low vulnerability (24 of 100) .