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
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)
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).
Occurs in standing to slow-flowing water, mostly in vegetated ponds and lakes, backwaters and quiet pools of steams. Frequents brackish water (Ref. 5723). Observed to inhabit warm, still waters, typically seen shoaling at the edges of streams and lakes (Ref. 44894). Feeds on small terrestrial insects usually in the drift and amongst aquatic plants, actively selecting very small prey (Ref. 6154). Feeds also on 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).
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.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Potential pest (Ref. 12257)
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
CollaboratorsPicturesStamps, CoinsSoundsCiguateraSpeedSwim. typeGill areaOtolithsBrainsVision
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00933 (0.00670 - 0.01299), b=3.27 (3.19 - 3.35), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.1 ±0.3 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) .