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Gambusia punctata.png
Cuban gambusia, Gambusia punctata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family: Poeciliidae
Tribe: Gambusiini
Genus: Gambusia
Poey, 1854
Type species
Gambusia punctata
Poey, 1854[1]
  • Arthrophallus C.L. Hubbs, 1926
  • Flexipenis C.L. Hubbs, 1963
  • Heterophallina C.L. Hubbs, 1926
  • Orthophallus Rivas, 1963
  • Paragambusia Meek, 1904
  • Schizophallus C.L. Hubbs, 1926
  • Toluichthys Dahl, 1964

Gambusia is a large genus of viviparous fish in the family Poeciliidae (order Cyprinodontiformes). Gambusia contains over 40 species, most of which are principally found in freshwater habitats, though some species may also be found in brackish or saltwater habitats. The type species is the Cuban gambusia, G. punctata. The greatest species richness is in Mexico, Texas, and the Greater Antilles, but species are also found elsewhere in eastern and southern United States, The Bahamas, Central America, and Colombia. Gambusia species are often called topminnows or simply gambusias; they are also known as mosquitofish, which, however, refers more specifically to two species, G. affinis and G. holbrooki. These can be introduced into ponds to eat mosquito larvae.[3][4] As a consequence, they have been introduced widely outside their native range, and frequently become invasive, threatening the local species.[5] They are only occasionally kept in aquariums, due to their relative lack of color and the highly aggressive nature of the aforementioned mosquitofish species.

Nine species are listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List; one, the widemouth gambusia, G. eurystoma, is Critically Endangered; and two, the Amistad gambusia, G. amistadensis, and the San Marcos gambusia, G. georgei, are already extinct.


The 45 currently recognized species in this genus are:[6][7]


  • "Gambusia". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 12 December 2004.
  1. ^ Eschmeyer, W. N.; R. Fricke & R. van der Laan (eds.). "Gambusia". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  2. ^ Eschmeyer, W. N.; R. Fricke & R. van der Laan (eds.). "Poeciliidae genera". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Gambusia: A Little Fish That Helps Solve Big Mosquito Problems". Alabama Vector Management Society. 24 December 2009. Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  4. ^ Allen, Greg (10 June 2011). "Tropical Disease Buzzes Back Into U.S." Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  5. ^ Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (2013). Gambusia affinis (Mosquito fish). Retrieved 27 February 2013
  6. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). Species of Gambusia in FishBase. August 2012 version.
  7. ^ a b Langerhans, R. B., Gifford, M. E., Domínguez-Domínguez, O., García-Bedoya, D. & DeWitt, T.J. (2012): Gambusia quadruncus (Cyprinodontiformes: Poeciliidae): a new species of mosquitofish from east-central México. Journal of Fish Biology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2012.03397.x