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.
- Baber MJ and K. Babbitt. 2004. Influence of habitat complexity on predator-prey interactions between the fish (Gambusia holbrooki) and Tadpoles of Hyla squirella and Gastrophryne carolinensis. Copeia 2004:173-177.
- Britton RH and ME. 1982. Size specific predation by herons and its effect on the sex-ratio of natural populations of the mosquito fish Gambusia affinis Baird and Girard. Oecologia 53:146-151.
- Casterlin ME and WW Reynolds. 1977. Aspects of habitat selection in the mosquitofish Gambusia affinis . Hydrobiologia 55:125-127.
- Cech JJ Jr., Massingill MJ, Vondracek B and AL. Linden. 1985. Respiratory metabolism of mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis : effects of temperature, dissolved oxygen, and sex difference. Environmental Biology of Fishes 13:297-307.
- Collier A. 1936. The mechanism of internal fertilization in Gambusia. Copeia 1936:45-53.
- FishBase. 2004. Species profile: Gambusia affinis Mosquito fish. Available online.
- Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLAVCD). Undated. Mosquitofish fact sheet. Available online.
- Hoese HD and RH Moore. 1977. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Texas, Louisiana, and Adjacent Waters. Texas A&M University Press, College Station TX. 327 p.
- Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). 2006. Ecology of Gambusia affinis . Global Invasive Species database. Available online.
- Krumholz LA. 1948. Reproduction in the western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis affinis (Baird & Girard), and Its use in mosquito control. Ecological Monographs 18:1-43.
- McDowall RM. 1990. New Zealand Freshwater Fishes, A Natural History and Guide. Heinemann Reed. 238 p.
- McDowall, R. M. 2000. The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Freshwater Fishes. Reed Publishing. 224 p.
- Medlen AB. 1951. Preliminary observations on the effects of temperature and light upon Gambusia affinis . Copeia 1951:148-152.
- 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.
- Moravec F, Huffman DJ, and DJ Swim. 1995. The first record of fish as paratenic hosts of Falcaustra spp. (Nematoda: Kathlaniidae). Journal of Parasitology 81:809-812.
- Rajasekharan PT and BN Chowdaiah. 1972. Selective Feeding Behaviour of Gambusia affinis . Oecologia 11:79-81.
- Robins CR, Ray GC, and J Douglas. 1986. A Field Guide to Atlantic Coast Fishes. The Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 354 p.
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