Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description: The banded killifish is a small (2-3 inches, 50-75 mm) fish with a brown to olive green back, silver or yellow silver sides, and a yellowish belly. Its sides have 12-20 vertical bars. It has a protruding lower jaw and a mouth that is well-developed for surface feeding.
Habitat and Habits: Habitat for the banded killifish ranges from quiet waters of lakes and ponds with lots of vegetation to muddy streams without vegetation. It is often found in small schools in shallow water over a sand, gravel or detritus covered bottom with patches of aquatic plants. This species spawns in late spring and summer, with egg clusters attaching to plants by filaments. Eggs hatch in 11-12 days. It feeds on small invertebrates (crustaceans, insect larvae). Where abundant, the banded killifish may be an important prey item for northern pike and fish-eating birds such as the kingfishers.
Distribution: This species occurs from South Carolina north to the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland, west through New York, Pennsylvania, and southern Canada in the Great Lakes Basin, to the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana. It has been reported from Charles Mix, Day, Deuel, Fall River, Roberts and Onion Counties in South Dakota.
Conservation Measures: The banded killifish has experienced reduced habitat due to wetland drainage.