Fisheries and Land Resources

Banded Killifish

Fundulus diaphanus


Native to Newfoundland.


Quiet lakes and ponds over sand or mud near vegetation, and swim in schools a few inches below the surface of the water.


From South Carolina in the U.S. north to the Maritimes and to the Island of Newfoundland. Killifish were once believed to be found in only one small area of the south western portion of the island, but recent research indicates a larger distribution, with the fish occurring on both the Avalon Peninsula and in the central regions of the province.


Killifish feed on a variety of insects as members of a school.


Dark olive to tan above; brown stripe along back; and white to yellow below with clear, dusky, olive-yellow fins; adults normally two to three inches long.

Breeding Biology

Killifish spawn in temperatures between 21 to 23oC. Males select breeding grounds in quiet waters of weedy pools, and defend them strongly. Fights between rival males are quite common.

Males take on a blue-green colour during spawning, and males and females pair off according to size. A male will drive a female into a cluster of weeds, where it will clasp the female using its anal and pectoral fins. The female will release five to 10 eggs. Upon release, the male's body will quiver, assume a bow shape, and release milt. Eggs are attached to individual threads, which attach to vegetation. In general, eggs take 11 to 12 days to hatch under optimal temperatures (22.2oC to 26.7oC).


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