Mosquitofish feed primarily on zooplankton, small insects and insect larvae, and detrital material (ISSG 2006). As the common name suggests, they are voracious consumers of mosquito larvae. All sizes and ages of mosquitofish feed on mosquito larvae, and a large female mosquitofish can consume hundreds of larvae a day (GLAVCD undated). Rajasekharan and Chowdaiah (1972) demonstrated that G. affinis could discern between different species of simultaneously presented mosquito larvae and preferentially consumed certain species based on a number of factors facilitating prey capture, including size, vertical position in the water column, and the tendency of larvae to clump in groups.Baber and Babbitt (2004) indicate Gambusia () are capable of effectively consuming tadpoles of two Florida amphibians, significantly impacting prey density. In addition, G. affinis is capable of foraging effectively in densely vegetated areas that would likely provide cover from larger predatory fish.Mosquitofish, particularly where it occurs as a non-native, also prey heavily on the eggs and young of co-occurring fish species. Predators: Britton and Moser (1988) report that G. affinis represents a significant portion of the diets of four species of Camargue herons they studied. The authors also indicate that female fish are preferentially consumed over the smaller males, in apparent concordance with optimal foraging theory. Gambusia affinis has been discovered to be one of several primarily freshwater fishes that serve as intermediate hosts of nematodes of genus Falcaustra, adults of whom typically infest reptile or amphibian hosts (Moravec et al. 1995). Habitats: Gambusia affinis occurs in a variety of freshwater and in protected brackish environments. It preferentially occupies vegetated habitats, including salt marsh and seagrass beds (Ray 1986). It is benthic and non-migratory in habit and is most often encountered in standing or slow-flowing waters (FishBase 2004, IGGS 2006).Preference experiments by Casterlin and Reynolds (1977) revealed that mosquitofish selectively occupied areas with subsurface vegetation but avoided floating cover that restricted access to the water surface. Activity Time: Lined sole are typically active in the evening hours, spending much of the daytime hours buried in shallow sand.
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- FishBase. 2004. Species profile: Gambusia affinis Mosquito fish. Available online.
- Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLAVCD). Undated. Mosquitofish fact sheet. Available online.
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- Minckley WL., Meffe GK, and DL Soltz. 1991. Conservation and management of short-lived fishes: the cyprinodontoids. Pages 247-82 in: Minckley WL and JE Deacon (eds.). Battle Against Extinction: Native Fish Management in the American West. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona.
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