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Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin

Killifish family - cyprinodontidae,   pp. 753-765 ff. PDF (5.2 MB)

Page 755

Banded Killifish 755 
Banded Killifish 
Fundulus diaphanus (Lesueur). Fundulus-fundus, 
     meaning bottom, the abode of the "Fundulus 
     mudfish"; diaphanus-transparent. 
Other common names: eastern banded killifish, 
     western banded killifish, freshwater mummi- 
     chog, freshwater killy, grayback minnow, fresh- 
     water killifish, killifish, topminnow, menona 
     killifish, menona topminnow, barred minnow, 
Adult 62 mm, Rinehart L. (Portage Co.), 13 June 1977 
Body elongate, laterally compressed, somewhat flat- 
tened at back of head and nape. Length 51-64 mm 
(2.0-2.5 in). TL = 1.23 SL. Depth into SL 4.8-5.6. 
Head into SL 3.3-3.7. Snout bluntly pointed. Mouth 
small, oblique, and opening dorsally; lower jaw pro- 
jecting; minute, needlelike teeth in bands on upper 
and lower jaws. Dorsal fin far posterior on back, but 
distinctly in advance of anal fin origin; dorsal fin rays 
10-13; anal fin rays 9-11; pelvic fin rays 6; caudal fin 
rounded to truncate. Scales cycloid; lateral series 39- 
43; lateral line absent, top of head scaled. Intestine, 
with single loop, about one-half length of body. 
Chromosomes 2n = 48 (Chen and Ruddle 1970). 
  Body light olive on back and sides, yellow-white 
on lower half, including belly Usually 12-20 narrow, 
vertical bars on sides (more apparent in preserved 
specimens). Dorsal and caudal fins lightly pig- 
mented; ventral fins lightly pigmented or clear. 
  Breeding males with vertical bars, and dorsal and 
anal fins enhanced during spawning; dorsal fin may 
exhibit green-gold iridescence and a suggestion of a 
band or two of black pigment (Scott and Crossman 
  Sexual dimorphism: Dorsal and anal fins usually 
larger in male than in female; vertical bars on sides 
more numerous in male. 
  Hybrids: Banded killifish x mummichog (Chen and 
Ruddle 1970). 
Two subspecies are recognized (Hubbs and Lagler 
1964): the eastern banded killifish, Fundulus dia- 
phanus diaphanus (Lesueur), which is found from South 
Carolina north to the Maritime provinces and New- 
foundland, including the eastern parts of Pennsyl- 
vania; and the western banded killifish, Fundulus dia- 
phanus menonaa Jordan and Copeland, which is found 
from western New York to the eastern parts of the 
Dakotas, including Wisconsin. The western form 
usually has less scales in the lateral series, and has 
less rays in the dorsal, anal, and pectoral fins. Also, 
in the western form the bars on caudal peduncle 
generally are fused into a median lengthwise stripe, 
whereas in the eastern form they are often short but 
not fused. 
In Wisconsin, the banded killifish occurs in the Lake 
Michigan and Mississippi River drainage basins. There 
are no records from the Lake Superior basin. In the 
Mississippi basin it has been recorded from each of 
the two northern lake areas (Burnett and Vilas coun- 
ties) and is probably more common than the record 
indicates. Its main centers of distribution in the Mis- 
sissippi basin are the Rock River and the Des Plaines 
watershed of southeastern Wisconsin. The only re- 
cord known from the driftless area is from the upper 
Sugar River (Dane County) (Greene 1935). 
  The banded killifish is common to abundant in 
many lakes of southeastern Wisconsin, and in the 
Green Bay and Lake Michigan shallows of Door and 
Kewaunee counties. Elsewhere in the eastern half of 
Wisconsin, it is rare to uncommon and occasionally 
common. Its status in Wisconsin appears to be se- 
  The banded killifish inhabits the shoal waters and 
estuaries of large lakes, and the quiet backwaters and 
sections of slow current in medium- to large-sized 
streams. It has a strong preference for broad, sandy 
shallows during the warm season of the year, in the 
open or in the vicinity of sparse aquatic vegetation. It 
avoids the swift, cold water of trout streams. It was 
encountered most frequently in clear water at depths 
to 0.6 m, over subtrates of gravel, sand, silt, marl, 
mud, clay, detritus, and rubble. 
  aType specimen collected by P. R. Hoy from the outlet of Lake 
Monona near Madison. 

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