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Mosquitofish: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Mosquitofish facts are fascinating.

The mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) is also called a western mosquitofish and is a freshwater fish. Mosquitofish is a popular pet fish as well. Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) are specifically reared and kept as pets in regions with an increased probability of mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes are known to lay larvae on the surface water which these fishes feed on, controlling mosquito populations and acting as a natural repellent from mosquitoes. They act as a form of mosquito control when they eat mosquito larvae.  

The western mosquitofish ranges in shallow water, ponds, and fish tanks in regions including Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, and Mexico. Owing to their size, they are in proximity of attack from external predators like racoons, egrets, and opossums. These mosquitofish are viviparous and not oviparous. They are a perfect addition to backyards and additionally act as natural mosquito control, specifically when mosquitoes are around.

For more relatable content, check out these fact files on manta ray and stingray as well.

Mosquitofish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mosquitofish?

Mosquitofish is a type of fish that belongs to Kingdom Animalia and order Cyprinodontiformes.

What class of animal does a mosquitofish belong to?

Mosquitofish is a fish that belongs to the class Actinopterygii, the family Poeciliidae, and the genus Gambusia.

How many mosquitofishes are there in the world?

The exact population size of this species is not known however they are seen in different parts of the world. Mosquitofish distribution is not scarce as per their population trends and are a popular fish pet choice.

Where does a mosquitofish live?

Mosquitofish live in shallow waters in regions in Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, California, and Mexico. These fish do not survive long in chemically affected waters or seawater, and they need fresh water to survive. They need appropriate water temperatures to survive.

What is a mosquitofish's habitat?

The mosquitofish habitat range is in shallow water, ponds, and fish tanks. They don't go into the deeper parts of the water body. If kept in a tank, its best to keep them around fishes that are similar in size as bigger fishes might eat them.  

Who do mosquitofishes live with?

Western mosquitofish don't mind living alone however, it's best to keep them with other species of their own kind or at least ones that are similar in size. They can live in stagnant water where mosquitoes lay their larvae.

How long does a mosquitofish live?

The western mosquitofish life is short. Mosquito fish may live for one to four years. Females mature by six months of age. These fishes can survive in stagnant water as well, however, they prefer freshwater regions.  

How do they reproduce?

Little is known about their reproductive behavior. These fishes give birth to young and don't lay eggs like other fish species. They are live-bearing fishes. After one year, this fish starts eating mosquito larvae. They give birth to 10-100 young or more. Females reach sexual maturity by six months. They lay multiple broods throughout their lifetime. The young survive in the same habitat as their parents. The juveniles and the others feed on mosquito larvae.

What is their conservation status?

The mosquito fish is classified as a Least Concern species by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN Red List constitutes information related to these and various other animal populations and range maps.

Mosquitofish Fun Facts

What do mosquitofishes look like?

Mosquitofishes are small-sized fishes perfect for owners who wish to adopt. They are similar to guppy fishes but are a a little simpler version. A male mosquitofish has an elongated and pointed anal fin, which is absent in the female mosquitofish. Female fishes have a black gravid spot near their anal fin. They are present mostly in shallow water regions and act as natural mosquito control and feed on mosquito larvae.

Mosquitofish is a small species of fish that is dark gray or brown and feeds on mosquito larvae.

How cute are they?

These fishes are extremely cute and adorable in appearance, owing to their small size. Keeping them with other species of their own kind would be ideal if you are considering owning these species as pets. They control mosquito populations by feeding on mosquitoes.

How do they communicate?

Fishes don't communicate verbally, however they make use of chemical and body language means to communicate. For the most part, these fishes are solitary beings and stay away from larger fish or marine creatures.  

How big is a mosquitofish?

The male mosquitofish size is 0.4- 1.3 in (1-3.3 cm) and females are  0.5-2.2 in (1.3-5.6 cm), which is much bigger than the smallest fish in the world. In comparison, a dwarf minnow is 1-1.2 in (2.5-3 cm).

How fast can a mosquitofish swim?

Mosquitofish swim at relatively moderate speeds and are found mostly in a pond or shallow waters. Their exact speed is not known. Sailfish are considered to be the fastest fish in the ocean. They are known to travel at speeds of 68 mph (109.4 kph).

How much does a mosquitofish weigh?

The mosquitofish male body weight is 2.20-0.001 lb (0.01 - 0.5 g) and female body weight is 2.2-0.004 lb (0.01-1.9 g). They primarily act as a repellent from mosquitoes and help control their mosquito larvae population.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female species are not addressed differently. They differ in appearance and reproductive functions. Male mosquitofish have an elongated and pointed anal fin which is absent in female mosquitofish.

What would you call a baby mosquitofish?

A baby mosquitofish can be referred to as a fry similar to other juvenile fishes. Young fishes inhabit the same environments as their parents, and there are slight chances for the parents to eat their young if they don't find mosquitoes larvae to feed on or another alternative.

What do they eat?

The mosquitofish diet constitutes mosquito larvae, algae, and other insects. Mosquitofishes are known to eat their own babies as well. This is similar to female red rock crabs which may eat their own when they are hungry.

Are they aggressive?

They can be aggressive in some instances towards other species. They tend to engage in fin nipping and also chase other fishes. They are friendly as pets and when kept together in a fish tank, they can keep another good company.  

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, these species can be kept as pets. They are specifically amazing for those who wish to keep natural repellents for mosquitoes. They are also kept in backyard ponds and other similar habitats. They are easy to control, manage and need to be feed regularly. If you do not wish to adopt them, you could visit a water body they are native to, like the Mississippi River, other ponds, and freshwater bodies.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Most species of fish move together in groups. A group of fish is referred to as a school.

There are approximately 30,000 species of fish combining all water bodies.

Fishes have small brains in their body and are cold-blooded species.

Are mosquito fish good for ponds?

These fishes are perfect for a pond. If you build a backyard pond, you should consider adopting these native freshwater fishes. They are small in size and instantly adapt to their environments. They are active fishes and often follow other fishes. They can be contained within the same pond for long periods of time. These fishes are accommodative towards stagnant water and are best kept in groups and with other fish species which are similar in size.

Mosquitofish vs. Guppy

The guppy is a more colorful and vibrant pet fish as compared to the mosquitofish. A guppy's lifespan is relatively shorter as compared to the mosquitofish. The guppy is popularly called rainbow fish, while the mosquitofish is commonly called western mosquitofish. Guppy fishes can be kept alone, while mosquitofish prefer living in groups. One can keep guppy in groups as well.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these pink salmon facts and sandfish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable manta ray coloring pages.

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