Northern Plains Killifish - Fundulus kansae
The plains killifish has probably been introduced into Montana's eastern drainage. This fish has an unusual appearance for a Montana fish because it bears vertical stripes. It typically inhabits small, low-gradient streams and spawns in the spring by broadcasting its eggs. The plains killifish eats primarily insects and other invertebrates that are taken largely from the surface of the water by its mouth, which is located near the top of its head. Hence, the common name of topminnow. The largest size of this killifish is about 6 inches.
Olive brown on back, fading to pale yellow or white below. Side has 12 to 28 dark vertical bars (bars, on female are narrower and more numerous, as in illustration). Head broad and flat, lateral line absent.
Western Hemisphere Range
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Found in small clear water creeks where substrate is mostly of a silt-clay type. Alkalinity and salinity may be a factor in stream selection.
Feed effectively at all levels and food habits are generalized. Prefer aquatic insects but also feed on plants.
Spend most of their in loosely organized schools. Has now been found in 19 streams in the Yellowstone Basin.
Spawns April-August when water temperatures reach 80 degrees F. Mate after brief courtship. Sexually mature at 2 years.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Mullen, J.A. 2007. Spatiotemporal variation of fish assemblages in Montana prairie streams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 102 p.
- Mullins, M.S. 1991. Biology and predator use of cisco (Coregonus artedi) in Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 68 p.
- Rosenthal, L.R. 2007. Evaluation of distribution and fish passage in relation to road culverts in two eastern Montana prairie streams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 78 p.
- Stringer, A.L. 2018. Status of Northern Pearl Dace and chrosomid dace in prairie streams of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 150 p.
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