Flora and Fauna of Northwest Florida

Biology Department

University of West Florida

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Salt Marsh Fishes

The long nosed Killifish, Fundulus similis, (maximum 15 cm) is a fish of the flooded salt marsh and marsh creek and shorelines. It is not usually found in low salinity marshes. Its vertical striping provides some camouflage among the plant stems. This species may be the same as F. majalis found on the Atlantic coast.

The gulf Killifish, Fundulus grandis, (maximum 15 cm) is a common fish of saltmarshes and shoreline habitats. The female (left) lacks the distinctive coloration patterns of the male (right). This species may be the same as F. heteroclitus from the Atlantic coast.

 

 

 

 The Diamond Killifish (Adinia xenica) gets its name from its body shape. Like the other resident minnows, this fish is found along the creek edges and in between the marsh plant stems.

 

 

The Sailfin Molly, Poecilia latipinna, (maximum 8 cm) is often found in very shallow water on the marsh surface or near the plant stems along the creek banks. Both sexes exhibit the horizontal striping, but the males (above) develop an extensive dorsal fin and blue coloration during the breeding season.

 Sheepshead minnows (Cyprinodon variegatus) are commonly found marshes and brackish ponds, often in places where you would not expect to find fish. These organisms can tolerate an incredible range of temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen conditions. The females are much more robust in shape (fatter body) than this male.

Striped Mullet (Mugil cephalus) occur in the marsh creeks as both juveniles (shown above) and adults, using the marsh as both a nursery and foraging area.

Spot (Leiostomus xanthurus) also are found in the marsh creeks as both juveniles (pictured) and adults. These fish roam the sand flats for food.