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: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution 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
Introduced worldwide in tropical and subtropical countries. North America: Atlantic and Gulf Slope drainages from New Jersey south to Alabama in USA (Ref. 5723). Established throughout southern Europe (Ref. 59043). Introduced for mosquito control, but had rare to non-existing effects on mosquitoes, and negative to perhaps neutral impact on native fishes (Ref. 12217).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 4.7 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 59105); 8.0 cm TL (female)
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).
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).
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. 120744)
CITES (Ref. 118484)
Threat to humans
Potential pest (Ref. 12257)
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00977 (0.00768 - 0.01244), b=3.17 (3.11 - 3.23), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.1 ±0.2 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (tm<1; multiple spawning per year).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (24 of 100) .