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banded killfish

banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) [state threatened]
Photo © Konrad P. Schmidt, University of Minnesota

Features and Behaviors


The banded killifish is about three inches in length. It shows an olive-green coloration on the back and upper sides and a silver-white color below. Ten to 20, dark, vertical bars can be seen along the sides. The breeding male has green bars along the side, a yellow throat and yellow fins. The front edge of the dorsal fin is in front of the front edge of the anal fin. Like all killifishes, this species has a flattened head and back, an upturned mouth and large eyes. There is no lateral line.


The banded killifish may be found in clear, glacial lakes that have much aquatic vegetation in Lake County. This fish moves in schools at or near the surface. Spawning occurs in late spring and early summer. The eggs are deposited in small clusters that stick to aquatic plants. The banded killifish eats a variety of organisms. The western banded killifish, Fundulus diaphanous subspecies menona is listed as threatened in Illinois.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family: Fundulidae

Illinois Status: state threatened, native