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California's lone native Fundulus

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#1 BenCantrell

  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 17 August 2018 - 11:40 AM

After 12 months in San Diego I finally found my first California killifish, Fundulus parvipinnis.  They prefer brackish environments, almost all of which are protected and off limits to well meaning microfisherpersons.  Good for the fish I'm sure, but it makes it difficult to find them.  I've scoured Google Maps looking for likely spots for them, and finally I found a spot that's both legal to access and has a mix of fresh and salt water.




I could see some splashes and ripples in the water, probably from striped mullet (a fish which defies biology by never eating).  The pockets of water between the rocks looked like good killifish habitat.  Getting down to the water was a bit tricky with the steep bank, and I had to be extra careful where I stepped when I got to the bottom.  Unfortunately this is a part of town with a lot of drug use.  I used to be shocked by seeing this stuff, but I'm getting used to it being normal.




The pockets of water between the rocks were loaded with killifish.  I'm familiar with what Fundulus look like from above, so I didn't have any doubts as to what they were.




It took a good 15 minutes of hopping a small bait along the top of one of the flat rocks before I could finally get one of the fish to bite.  They really weren't in a feeding mood, so I started to wonder if I was going to have to come back in the morning, or evening, or when the tide was moving.  One of the killifish took pity on me though, and I took some photos, thanked it, and sent it on his way.




When I got home I looked up their spawning info, and I put a note on my calendar to look for them again next May so I can get photos of them in spawning colors.


#2 dmarkley

  • NANFA Member
  • Lower Susquehanna River

Posted 17 August 2018 - 11:46 AM

Cool fish!

Susquehanna River Drainage

#3 gerald

  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 17 August 2018 - 02:02 PM

There's not many pix of F. parvipinnis online, and yours is one of the best.

Gerald Pottern
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel

#4 lilyea

  • NANFA Member
  • Peace River Watershed, Central Florida, USA

Posted 17 August 2018 - 03:24 PM

Ben - great write up and pictures! Thanks for sharing!

#5 zooxanthellae

  • NANFA Member
  • North Carolina

Posted 19 August 2018 - 10:25 PM

That's really cool Ben! 

#6 Chasmodes

  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 21 August 2018 - 09:49 AM

Nice report and pics Ben!

Kevin Wilson

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