Invasion HistoryFirst Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1958
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1958
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record:
General Invasion History:
Rainwater Killifish (Lucania parva) is native to Atlantic Coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to the Florida Keys and Quintana Roo, Mexico. Its most commonly found in estuaries, not far above the tideline, however, it ranges far into non-tidal freshwaters is several rivers that have mineral-rich waters, including the St. Johns River, Florida, and the Rio Grande-Pecos system of Texas-New Mexico (Hubbs and Miller 1965; Robins et al. 1986; Page and Burr 1991; US National Museum of Natural History 2009). It has been introduced in the Western United States where it was discovered in four separate locations from 1958 to 1961 (Hubbs and Miller 1965).
North American Invasion History:
Invasion History on the West Coast:
In 1958 to 1963, populations of the Rainwater Killifish (L. parva) were discovered almost simultaneously in five separate areas of the Western United States. Populations were discovered in the San Francisco Estuary, Yaquina Bay, Oregon, Irvine Lake (Orange County, California), Blue Lake and Timpie Springs (both in Utah). Hubbs and Miller (1965) noted that Irvine Lake and the Utah sites all received Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) raised in a hatchery in Dexter, New Mexico, on the Pecos River, a Rio Grande tributary which has native Rainwater Killifish populations, and considered this the vector for the introductions. However, they did not find documentation for gamefish transfers from the Dexter Hatchery to the San Francisco Bay or Yaquina watersheds, and based on meristic and morphometric similarities to Atlantic Coast fish, that Rainwater Killifish had been introduced from the East Coast with Eastern Oysters (Hubbs and Miller 1965). However, plantings of Redear Sunfish (Lepomis microlophus) from the Dexter hatchery were made in the San Joaquin valley in the 1950s (Shapalov et al. 1959, cited by Cohen and Carlton 1995). Since the Dexter hatchery was a major source for warm water gamefish in the West, and the discoveries were so simultaneous, a single source seems likely. The merisitic similarities of the West Coast populations to Atlantic populations are small and could be explained by adaptation to an estuarine habitat (Cohen and Carlton 1995).
In May 1958, Rainwater Killifish were discovered in Berkeley Aquatic Park on San Francisco Bay. It was subsequently discovered in several locations, mostly sloughs and lagoons on the Central Bay (Richmond), Oakland (Merrit Slough), Corte Madera Creek), the South Bay (Palo Alto), and San Pablo Bay (Sonoma Creek) (Hubbs and Miller 1965). By the 1970s, it was abundant in Suisun Marsh (Matern et al. 2002). It has been found in the lower reaches of 25 San Francisco Bay tributaries (Leidy 2007), and in salt ponds adjacent to South San Francisco Bay at salinities up to 50 PSU (Mejia et al. 2008). In 1963, this fish was found in Lake Irvine, a reservoir in the interior of Orange County (Hubbs and Miller 1965). Again, this population is believed to be established, though we are unaware of recent records (Swift et al. 1993). An established population was found at Goleta Point, on the University of California Campus in Santa Barbara in the early 1980s (Swift et al. 1993). In July 1958, another population of L. parva was found in several sloughs near Yaquina Bay, Oregon (1958, Hubbs and Miller 1965). We assume that this fish is still established there, but we have found no recent records.
Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:
In 1959 Rainwater Killifish (L. parva) were found in Timpie Spring, on the shore of Great Salt Lake, Utah. Since then, this fish has been found elsewhere in the Great Salt Lake Basin basin, in Blue Lake (Hubbs and Miller 1965) and in Utah Lake (Lee et al. 1980).
The Rainwater Killifish (Lucania parva) is a small, mostly estuarine fish, but it has some breeding freshwater populations and does enter marine waters (Hildebrand and Schroeder 1928; Page and Burr 1991; Fuller and Noa 2008). Killifish of the family Fundulidae have a somewhat streamlined body, with soft-rayed dorsal and anal fins, a rounded or squareish tail, abdominal pelvic fins, and moderate-sized scales, and a small, upturned mouth. The origin of the dorsal fin is anterior to that of the anal fin. This fish has 20 to 23 lateral line scales, and 9-13 dorsal rays. The body is laterally compressed, and deep, compared to the Bluefin Killifish (L. goodei.) The Rainwater Killifish is small, up to 70 mm long, but more usually ~32 mm. The back of the fish is dusky to olive brown, and the sides are silvery-white, white, with a faint dusky-orange stripe from the edge of the gill-cover to the base of the tail. The scales are large, with dark borders. Males tend to be smaller than females, and have a black spot at the anterior edge of the dorsal fin. During the breeding season, males have orange edges to the pelvic and anal fins (Hardy 1978; Robins et al. 1986; Page and Burr 1991; Murdy et al. 1997; Moyle 2002; Froese and Pauly 2018).
Limia venusta (Girard, 1858)
Lucania affinis (Girard, 1859)
Potentially Misidentified Species
Fundulus diaphanus (California Killifish) is native to Eastern North America from Newfoundland to South Carolina, west to Manitoba and Illinois, in fresh and brackish waters. It has been introduced in the Columbia River. The California Killifish is olive dorsally and yellowish-brown below, with green-brown bars along the sides. Adults can reach 130 mm, but juveniles could be confused with Lucania parva (Page and Burr 1991).
Fundulus parvipinnis (California Killifish) is native to the Pacific Coast from Morro Bay to Baja California in shallow bays and salt marshes. This fish is olive dorsally and yellowish-brown below, with dark bars along the sides. Adults can reach 110 mm, but juveniles could be confused with Lucania parva (Eschmeyer and Herald 1983).
Lucania goodei (Bluefin Killifish) is more slender, with a zigzag black stripe from nose to tail. Males have bright blue fins (Page and Burr 1991). This killifish has been found in the San Dieguito River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta but is not known to be established.
Over most of its range, Rainwater Killifish (Lucania parva) is an estuarine species, ranging from euhaline to tidal fresh waters, but nontidal freshwater populations occur far up the Rio Grande and Pecos Rivers in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico, and on the Florida peninsula, where the 'fresh' waters are slightly saline or highly mineralized (Page and Burr 1991). Males tend to be somewhat more colorful than females and smaller (Hardy 1979; Robins et al. 1986; Page and Burr 1991; Murdy et al. 1997; Froese and Pauly 2018). Fish mature at about 25 mm. Females can carry 7-104 eggs. The spawning time in Chesapeake Bay is April-July, but in Florida they spawn year-round (Hildebrand and Schroeder 1938; Hardy 1978). Males guard territories, but do not make nests. The eggs are demersal and adhesive and are scattered on vegetation. The larvae are initially demersal, but then swim in small schools, often moving into very shallow-water. They can mature in 3-5 months after hatching (Wang 1986).
At the northern end of its range, in southern New England, Rainwater Killifish inhabit estuaries which freeze over in winter, but in Florida and Mexico they range into subtropical waters (Robins et al. 1986; Page and Burr 1991). They are remarkably euryhaline, occurring and breeding at 0-49 PSU (Hardy 1978). Inland freshwater populations occur mostly in alkaline waters with high mineral content, such as the St. Johns River, Florida, and the Rio Grande Basin in Texas, Mexico, and New Mexico (Page and Burr 1991). These fish are sensitive to acidic conditions (Dunson and Travis 1991). The Rainwater Killifish are strongly associated with dense vegetation including Tapegrass (Vallisneria americana), Pondweed (Potamogeton spp.), and Eelgrass (Zostera marina). Rainwater Killifish feeds mostly on small invertebrates (Hildebrand and Schroeder 1928). In experiments they strongly preferred vegetated areas, and preferred them even more in the presence of predators (Largemouth Bass) (Jordan 2002).
annelids, mollusks, amphipods
|General Habitat||Fresh (nontidal) Marsh||None|
|General Habitat||Grass Bed||None|
|General Habitat||Nontidal Freshwater||None|
|General Habitat||Tidal Fresh Marsh||None|
|General Habitat||Unstructured Bottom||None|
|General Habitat||Oyster Reef||None|
|Salinity Range||Limnetic||0-0.5 PSU|
|Salinity Range||Oligohaline||0.5-5 PSU|
|Salinity Range||Mesohaline||5-18 PSU|
|Salinity Range||Polyhaline||18-30 PSU|
|Salinity Range||Euhaline||30-40 PSU|
|Salinity Range||Hyperhaline||40+ PSU|
Tolerances and Life History Parameters
|Minimum Temperature (ºC)||1||Based on geographic range, occurrence in estuaries with ice cover.|
|Maximum Temperature (ºC)||28||Keup and Bayless 1964, Neuse River NC.|
|Minimum Salinity (‰)||0||Page and Burr (1991, permanent nontidal freshwater populations in more saline 'fresh' waters, eg. St. Johns River, Florida, Rio Grande, Texas-New Mexico)|
|Maximum Salinity (‰)||48||Field (Hardy 1978), found in South San Francisco Bay Salt ponds with mean salinities of ~ 50 PSU (Mejia et al. 2008)|
|Minimum Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)||2||Nordlie 2006, Field|
|Minimum Reproductive Salinity||0||Rainwater Killifish can reproduce in tidal fresh water, and in regions with alkaline, mineralized freshwaters (Page and Burr 1991).|
|Maximum Reproductive Salinity||30||Highest tested (Fuller 2008)|
|Minimum Length (mm)||25||Size at maturity (Hardy 1978)|
|Maximum Length (mm)||70||Page and Burr 1991, but more usually to 37 mm (Froese and Pauly 2018).|
|Broad Temperature Range||None||Cold Temperate-Subtropical|
|Broad Salinity Range||None||Nontidal Limnetic-Hyperhaline|
General ImpactsExtirpation of the endangered Tidewater Gobies (Eucyclogobius newberryi) in the San Francisco estuary followed the invasion of Rainwater Killifish (Lucania parva) (Hubbs & Miller 1965; Leidy 1984). In experiments, the presence of Rainwater Killifish in aquaria did not affect the growth rate or cortisol levels of Tidewater Gobies (Chase and Todgham 2016). Adverse effects of Rainwater Killifish do not appear to result from food competition or stress, but may be due to displacement by faster reproduction and greater environmental tolerance (Chase et al. 2016).
|NEP-V||Northern California to Mid Channel Islands||Ecological Impact||Predation|
|Several extirpations of tidewater gobies in the San Francisco Bay area followed the invasion of rainwater killifish (Lucania parva) Hubbs & Miller 1965; Leidy 1984) and yellowfin goby (Acanthogobius flavimanus); Brittan et al. 1970).' (Lafferty et al. 1999)|
|NEP-V||Northern California to Mid Channel Islands||Ecological Impact||Competition|
|cboIMP_Impact txtIMP_Type IMP_Comments Predation Ecological Impact Several extirpations of tidewater gobies in the San Francisco Bay area followed the invasion of rainwater killifish (Lucania parva) Hubbs & Miller 1965; Leidy 1984) and yellowfin goby (Acanthogobius flavimanus); Brittan et al. 1970).' (Lafferty et al. 1999)|
|P090||San Francisco Bay||Ecological Impact||Competition|
|Adverse effects of Rainwater Killifish on the Tidewater Goby do not appear to result from food competition or stress, but may be due to displacement by faster reproduction and greater environmental tolerance (Chase et al. 2016).|
|P090||San Francisco Bay||Ecological Impact||Predation|
|Several extirpations of tidewater gobies in the San Francisco Bay area followed the invasion of rainwater killifish (Lucania parva) Hubbs & Miller 1965; Leidy 1984) and yellowfin goby (Acanthogobius flavimanus); Brittan et al. 1970).' (Lafferty et al. 1999).|
Regional Distribution Map
|Bioregion||Region Name||Year||Invasion Status||Population Status|
|NA-ET3||Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras||0||Native||Estab|
|CAR-VII||Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida||0||Native||Estab|
|CAR-I||Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida||0||Native||Estab|
|NEP-V||Northern California to Mid Channel Islands||1958||Def||Estab|
|NEP-IV||Puget Sound to Northern California||1958||Def||Estab|
|P090||San Francisco Bay||1958||Def||Estab|
|S180||St. Johns River||0||Native||Estab|
|G330||Lower Laguna Madre||0||Native||Estab|
|NEP-VI||Pt. Conception to Southern Baja California||1985||Def||Unk|
|P065||_CDA_P065 (Santa Barbara Channel)||1985||Def||Unk|
|GRSALTLK||Great Salt Lake||1959||Def||Estab|
|M013||_CDA_M013 (Cape Cod)||0||Native||Estab|
|M040||Long Island Sound||0||Native||Estab|
|M060||Hudson River/Raritan Bay||0||Native||Estab|
ReferencesPrecht, William F. Hickerson, Emma L.; Schmah, George P.; Aronson, Richard B. (2014) The invasive coral Tubastraea coccinea (Lesson, 1829): Implications for natural habitats in the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Keys, Gulf of Mexico Science 2014: 55-59
Bogantes, Viktoria E.; Boyle, Michael J.; Halanych, Kenneth M. (2021) New reports on Pseudopolydora (Annelida: Spionidae) from the East Coast of Florida, including the non-native species P. paucibranchiata, BioInvasions Records 10: 577-588
Briggs, Philip T.; Waldman, John R. (2002) Annotated list of fishes reported from the marine waters of New York, Northeastern Naturalist 9(1): 47-80
Cohen, Andrew N.; Carlton, James T. (1995) Nonindigenous aquatic species in a United States estuary: a case study of the biological invasions of the San Francisco Bay and Delta, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Sea Grant College Program (Connecticut Sea Grant), Washington DC, Silver Spring MD.. Pp. <missing location>
Cragg, S.M.; Jumel, M.-C.; Al-Horani, F.A.; Hendy, I.W. (2009) The life history characteristics of the wood-boring bivalve Teredo bartschi are suited to the elevated salinity, oligotrophic circulation in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 375: 99-105
Dill, William A.; Cordone, Almo J. (1997) History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996, California Department of Fish and Game Fish Bulletin 178: 1-414
Eschmeyer, William N.; Herald, Earl S.; Hamman, Howard (1983) A field guide to Pacific coast fishes: North America, Houghton Mifflin, Boston. Pp. <missing location>
Fuller, Pam. L.; Nico, Leo; Williams, J. D. (1999) Nonindigenous fishes introduced into inland waters of the United States, American Fisheries Society, Bethesda MD. Pp. <missing location>
Fuller, Rebecca C. (2008) A test for a trade-off in salinity tolerance in early life-history stages in Lucania goodei and L. parva., Copeia 2008(1): 154-157
Gewant, Darren; Bollens, Stephen M. (2012) Fish assemblages of interior tidal marsh channels in relation to environmental variables in the upper San Francisco Estuary, Environmental Biology of Fishes 94: 483-499
Grabowski, Michal; Bacela, Karolina; Konopacka, Alicja;Jazdzewski, Krzysztof (2009) Salinity-related distribution of alien amphipods in rivers provides refugia for native species, Biological Invasions 11: 2107-2117
Hardy, Jerry D., Jr. (1978) <missing title>, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington D.C.. Pp. <missing location>
Hartel, Karsten E.; Halliwell, David B.; Launer, Alan E. (2002) Inland Fishes of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln MA. Pp. 328 pp.
Hildebrand, Samuel F.; Schroeder, William C. (1928) Fishes of Chesapeake Bay, Unites States Bureau of Bisheries Bulletin 53(Pt. 1): 1-388
Hubbs, Carl L., Miller, Robert Rush (1965) Studies of Cyprinodont fishes. XXII. Variation in Lucania parva, its establishment in western United States, and description of a new species from an interior basin in Coahuila, México, Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 127: 1-104
Keup, Lowell, Bayless, Jack (1964) Fish distribution at varying salinities in Neuse River Basin, North Carolina, Chesapeake Basin 5(3): 119-123
Lafferty, Kevin D.; Swift, Cam C.; Ambrose, Richard F. (1999) Extirpation and recolonization in a metapopulation of an endangered fish, the tidewater goby., Conservation Biology 13(6): 1447-1453
Lee, Taekjun; Shin, Sook (2021) First Record of Colonial Ascidian, Botrylloides diegensis Ritter and Forsyth, 1917 (Ascidiacea, Stolidobranchia, Styelidae), in South Korea, Water 13(2164): Published online
Lleonart, M.; Handlinger, J.; Powell, M. (2003) Treatment of spionid mud worm (Boccardia knoxi Rainer) infestation of cultured abalone, Aquaculture 217: 1-10
Matern, Scott A.; Moyle, Peter; Pierce, Leslie C. (2002) Native and alien fishes in a California estuarine marsh: twenty-one years of changing assemblages, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 131: 797-816
Mejia, Francine; Saiki, Michael K.; Takekawa, John Y. (2008) Relation between species assemblages of fishes and water quality in salt ponds and sloughs in South San Francisco Bay, Southwestern Naturalist 53(3): 335-345
Menhinick, Edward F., Burton, Thomas M., Bailey, Joseph R. (1974) An annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of North Carolina, Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 89: 24-50
Murdy, Edward O.; Birdsong, Ray S.; Musick, John A. (1997) Fishes of Chesapeake Bay, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.. Pp. 57-289
Nel, Ronel; Coetzee, P. S.; Van Niekerk, G (1998) The evaluation of two treatments to reduce mud worm (Polydora hoplura Claparede) infestation in commercially reared oysters (Crassostrea gigas Thunberg), Aquaculture 146: 31-39
Page, Lawrence M.; Burr, Brooks M. (1991) Freshwater Fishes: North America North of Mexico, Houghton-Mifflin, Boston. Pp. <missing location>
Quinn, Emma A.; Thomas, Jessica E.; Malkin, Sophie H.; Eley, Molly-Jane; Coates, Christopher J.; Rowley, Andrew F. (2022) nvasive slipper limpets Crepidula fornicata are hosts for sterilizing digenean parasites, Parasitology 149: 811–819.
Robins, C. Richard; Ray, G. Carleton; Douglass, John; Freund, Rudolf 1943 (1986) <missing title>, Houhgton Mifflin, Boston. Pp. <missing location>
Simon, Carol A.; Bentley, Matthew G.; Caldwell, Gary S. (2010) 2,4-Decadienal: Exploring a novel approach for the control of polychaete pests on cultured abalone, Aquaculture 310: 52-60
Simon, Carol A.; van Niekerk, H. Helene; Burghardt, Ingo; ten Hove, Harry A.; Kupriyanova, Elena K. (2019) Not out of Africa: Spirobranchus kraussii (Baird, 1865) is not a global fouling and invasive serpulid of Indo-Pacific origin, Biological Invasions 14(3): 221–249.
Swift, Camm C., Haglund, Thomas R., Ruiz, Mario, Fisher, Robert N. (1993) The status and distribution of the freshwater fishes of southern California, Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 92(3): 101-167
1996-2014 NMNH Fish Collection Database.. http://collections.nmnh.si.edu/search/fishes/
Wang, Johnson C. S. (1986) Fishes of the Sacramento - San Joaquin Estuary and Adjacent Waters, California: A Guide to the Early Life Histories, IEP Technical Reports 9: 1-673
Weisberg, Stephen; Himchak, Peter; Baum, Tom; Wilson, Harold T.; Allen, Russell (1996) Temporal trends in abundance of fish in the tidal Delaware River, Estuaries 19(3): 723-729
Zoological Department of Pomona College (1918) Molluscoidea at Laguna Beach, Journa of Entomology and Zoology (of Pomona College) 10: 16-16