Blackstripe Topminnow

Fundulus notatus

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

This species has been identified as Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and it is listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). Under SARA, a management plan has been developed for this species. This species also has the general protection given by the habitat protection provisions sections of the Fisheries Act.

General Description

The Blackstripe Topminnow (Fundulus notatus) is a member of the Killifish family (Cyprinodontidae) and has the following characteristics:

  • Elongated body, small upturned mouth and large eyes;
  • Small, normally grows to about 5 to 7 cm long;
  • Flattened top of the head;
  • Rounded tail fin;
  • Large round scales on the top of the head, cheeks and gill covers;
  • Prominent black horizontal band from snout to tail; and
  • Opal-coloured spot on the top of the head in live specimens.

Distribution

The Blackstripe Topminnow occurs in the central United States, ranging from the Gulf states north to the lower Great Lakes. In Canada, it is found only in southwestern Ontario in the Sydenham River and associated creeks.

Habitat and Life History

This species is found in slow-moving creeks and rivers. They use floating aquatic plants and low overhanging terrestrial vegetation for cover. This species seems to be tolerant of, and may even prefer, turbid waters. In summer, females lay 20 to 30 eggs that the male attaches individually to aquatic plants.

Diet

The Blackstripe Topminnow has a specialized surface-insect feeding habit. The small upturned mouth helps to ambush adult insects on or just above the water surface.

Threats

The species was first discovered in Ontario in 1972 and may always have been uncommon here. In other parts of its range, the loss of stream bank structure from livestock and loss of instream and shoreline vegetation have played a role in causing declines, but there is no real evidence of declines in Ontario.

Similar Species

The Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) has 40 to 55 scales along the side instead of 32 to 35, and has black vertical bars instead of a horizontal band.

Text Sources: McAllister 1987b.

For more information, visit the Species at Risk (SARA) Public Registry Profile.

Blackstripe Topminnow

Blackstripe Topminnow (Fundulus notatus) (© J. R. Tomelleri)

Fundulus notatus - © J. R. Tomelleri

Scientific name: Fundulus notatus
SARA Status: Special Concern (June 2003)
COSEWIC Status: Special Concern (May 2001; May 2012)
Region: Ontario

Blackstripe Topminnow Distribution: Current Records as described in following paragraph

Blackstripe Topminnow Distribution: Current Records

Did You Know?

The Blackstripe Topminnow reaches a maximum age of 2 or 3 years old. It is probably an opportunistic feeder whose diet consists mostly of terrestrial insects but also aquatic insect larvae, molluscs, spiders and microcrustaceans.

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