California killifish

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California killifish
Scientific classification
F. parvipinnis
Binomial name
Fundulus parvipinnis
Girard, 1854

The California killifish (Fundulus parvipinnis) is a type of killifish (Fundulidae) found along the coast of southern California and Baja California.

Like the other members of the family, California killifish are small, no more than about 11 cm in length. The body is rather thick and oblong in shape, with almost no narrowing of the caudal peduncle, and a squarish tail fin. The pelvic fins are small, while the anal fin is long, with 11-13 rays. They are olive-green above, and a yellowish brown below; during breeding season, the back become dark brown, while the belly and paired fins become bright yellow.

They are coastal fish, occurring in shallow bays, estuaries, marshes, and the lower parts of streams from Morro Bay south to Magdalena Bay in central Baja California. Between Goleta Slough and the Tijuana River they occur almost continuously, the frequency of wetlands being sufficient to allow free movement. They tolerate a wide range of salinities, oxygen levels, and pollution.

The diet consists of a variety of both benthic and planktonic invertebrates, anything from snails to crustaceans to insects, often found by foraging through areas of vegetation flooded by high tides.

This species and the Baja killifish F. limi are the only members of Fundulus on the west coast of the continent, and are distinct from the rest of the genus, which is limited to the east coast. It has been suggested that they may form a separate genus.


  • "Fundulus parvipinnis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 18 April 2006.
  • Peter B. Moyle, Inland Fishes of California (University of California Press, 2002), pp. 313–315
  • Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Fundulus parvipinnis" in FishBase. April 2006 version.