Banded Killifish

Fundulus diaphanus

Banded KillifishDistribution: Range includes Eastern North America north to Newfoundland, South to the Carolinas and west through the Great Lakes to the Dakotas.

Description: A slender, tapering body shape is typically olive-green on the dorsal side and paler underneath. Banded killifish are small (rarely reaching four inches) with a flat head and small mouth that seems to open upward. Males have 18 to 22 vertical bands while females have fewer (8 to 12), thinner bands.

Species commonly confused with: Common mummichog, striped killifish, rainbow smelt

Habitat: A schooling fish, they are usually found in small groups in the shallow water of lakes, ponds and slow moving streams.

Life History: Spawning takes place throughout the summer lasting from June to mid-August. Eggs are laid in adhesive strands within dense aquatic vegetation. A single female my lay several clutches of eggs through the summer while the male fights off other males. After fertilization, the eggs are abandoned.

Origin: Native

Banded Killifish
This banded killifish was captured in a small stream in the Warner River watershed. Banded killifish are habitat generalists and may also be found in larger waterbodies, such as Ossipee Lake, Squam Lake, and Canobie Lake.

Conservation/Management: There are no specific conservation or management objectives for the banded killifish. The status of the banded killifish in New Hampshire is not well understood in New Hampshire. One of the objectives of the NHFG Fish Conservation Program is to collect baseline fish community data for monitoring long term trends in the abundance and distribution of New Hampshire’s freshwater fish species, which will reflect changes in aquatic habitat and water quality across the state. This information may also be used to detect declines in a species before it becomes a candidate for listing under the state or federal threatened and endangered species act. Early detection greatly increases the chances for a successful recovery of a species and it is critical for reducing the disturbingly high extinction rate of freshwater fish species.