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Stippled Studfish

STIPPLED STUDFISH

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Fundulus bifax

Characteristics: This species is characterized by a series of darkened spots on individual scales that form a unique stippled pattern, which consists of short, broken bars extending along the sides of the body from the gill opening to the caudal fin base. Adult males have 50 to 75 percent of their scales marked with dark red to red-orange spots, and there are usually 8 to 10 rows along the sides and 5 to 7 rows along the peduncle. The sides of breeding Fundulus bifax are sky blue, changing to blue-brown dorsally and white ventrally. The caudal fin on males lacks a black band along its free margin. Paired fins are bluish gray. The stippled topminnow is a close relative of F. stellifer and F. catenatus, the southern and northern studfish, in the subgenus Xenisma. See Cashner et al. (1988) for original description.

 ADULT SIZE: 3 to 3.7 in (75 to 95 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: Fundulus bifax is endemic to the Mobile basin. Individuals are limited in distribution to the Tallapoosa River system in Alabama and Georgia and to Sofkahatchee Creek, an eastern tributary to the lower Coosa River in Elmore County.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The stippled topminnow is commonly found in small or medium-sized streams flowing over sand and gravel. This species is also common in the main channel of the Tallapoosa River above the Fall Line. The stippled topminnow’s preferred habitat appears to be slow eddies along the margins of riffle runs. Neither the spawning season nor the life history of this newly described species has been studied, but the stippled studfish probably spawns in the late spring and the early summer, as does F. stellifer, a species with which F. bifax was previously confused.

REMARKS: The type locality for the stippled studfish is the Tallapoosa River near Daviston, Tallapoosa County, Alabama.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Cashner and Rogers described the stippled studfish in 1988.

ETYMOLOGY:
Fundulus means bottom.
Bifax means liar, referring to the fact that this species closely resembles both F. catenatus and F. stellifer.

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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