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Pygmy Killifish

PYGMY KILLIFISH

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Leptolucania ommata

Characteristics: Adult males of the pygmy killifish are generally uniform olive to yellow-olive, fading to light yellow or white on the venter. Five to seven wide but faint vertical bars mark the sides, being most conspicuous on the caudal peduncle and fading anteriorly. All median fins and the pelvic fins are yellow. A large black spot frequently haloed in creamy yellow is usually present at the caudal fin base. The dorsal and anal fins of breeding males are elongate and, when depressed, almost reach the caudal fin base. Females are slightly larger and have no vertical bars, shorter dorsal and anal fins, and a more intense lateral band. Females also have, in the middle of the lateral band, a large spot that is about the same size as the caudal spot. The body form is slender, and the mouth is small and upturned, presumably to facilitate feeding at the water’s surface. See Jordan (1884a) for original description.

 ADULT SIZE: 0.6 to 1.1 in (15 to 29 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: Leptolucania ommata is distributed from the Ogeechee River drainage in Georgia south to central Florida and west to the Escatawpa River drainage in Alabama and Mississippi. Our collections are limited to the Perdido River drainage, and the inferred presence of the species in the Escatawpa River system is based on a single record from Mississippi; we know of no specimens from the Alabama section of the system. The species had not been found in Mobile Bay tributaries until Boschung (1992) reported a collection from the Magnolia River in Baldwin County.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: This species prefers shallow, extensively vegetated overflow pools, sloughs, and blackwater swamps. We sampled dense populations in overflow pools of the Perdido River, netting 10 to 20 individuals per haul. Arndt (1971) reports spawning from late spring through summer and a life span of one or more years for Florida and Georgia populations. Foods include small insects and crustaceans found in vegetation.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Jordan described the pygmy killifish in 1884.

ETYMOLOGY:
Leptolucania means fine or slender fish like Lucania.
Ommata means eye, referring to the spot on the caudal peduncle.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.

Note: In Alabama, it is illegal to stock or move any fish, mussel, snail or crayfish to any public water without a permit.


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