Pike topminnow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pike topminnow
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family: Poeciliidae
Subfamily: Poeciliinae
Tribe: Gambusiini
Genus: Belonesox
Kner, 1860
B. belizanus
Binomial name
Belonesox belizanus
Kner, 1860

The pike topminnow (Belonesox belizanus), more commonly known as pike killifish and sometimes referred to as topminnow,[2][3] is a species of poeciliid found from Mexico to Nicaragua.[1][2] It has also been introduced to Florida, USA.[1][2][4] It is the only known member of its genus.[5] The pike topminnow was described in 1860 by Austrian ichthyologist Rudolf Kner,[6] who gave the type locality as Belize, which is reflected in this species' specific name.[7]


Unlike most poeciliids (which tend to be generalists or micropredators), this is a highly specialized predator, with an extremely flexible upper jaw that enables it to take very large prey items for its size.[8]


It grows typically to 9.7 cm (3.8 in) total length, exceptionally to 20 cm (7.9 in).[2] It has an elongated appearance with a flat back profile. The lower jaw is longer than the upper, and upturned. The pike topminnow has large eyes and a dorsal fin set far back on the body. It is a light, olive/brown color with light green iridescence and small black spots on the flanks. The belly is a lighter yellowish white. A dark spot is at the base of the caudal fin.[9] They are also a livebearing fish.[10][3]

In the aquarium[edit]

This fish can be found in the aquarium trade, but is not an easy aquarium resident, especially by poeciliid standards.


  1. ^ a b c Palmer-Newton, A. (2019). "Belonesox belizanus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T191721A2000068. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T191721A2000068.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2019). "Belonesox belizanus" in FishBase. August 2019 version.
  3. ^ a b "Pike Killifish". Florida Museum. 2020-04-14. Retrieved 2022-04-30.
  4. ^ Courtenay, Walter R. Jr.; Sahlman, Harry F.; Miley, Woodard W. & Herrema, David J. (1974). "Exotic fishes in fresh and brackish waters of Florida". Biological Conservation. 6 (4): 292–302. doi:10.1016/0006-3207(74)90008-1.
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2022). Species of Belonesox in FishBase. February 2022 version.
  6. ^ Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Belonesox belizanus". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  7. ^ Christopher Scharpf; Kenneth J. Lazara (26 October 2019). "Order CYPRINODONTIFORMES: Families POECILIIDAE, ANABLEPIDAE, VALENCIIDAE, APHANIIDAE and PROCATOPODIDAE". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Belonesox belizanus - Pike livebearer | Tropical Fish".
  9. ^ Sakurai, A., Y. Sakamoto, and F. Mori. 1993. Aquarium fish of the world: the comprehensive guide to 650 species. Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA
  10. ^ "Belonesox belizanus". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved April 30, 2022.