Cyprinodontiformes vivíparos e ovovivíparos

Livebearer Cyprinodontiformes

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Species > Species profile > Gambusia puncticulata

















Gambusia puncticulata  Poey, 1854

Gambusia picturada
Poey, 1868; ( synonym )
Gambusia caymanensis Regan, 1913; ( synonym )
Gambusia melanosticta Regan, 1913; ( synonym )
Gambusia nigropunctata Regan, 1913; ( synonym )
Gambusia oligosticta Regan, 1913; ( synonym )
Gambusia hubbsi Breder, 1934; ( synonym )
Gambusia howelli Rivas, 1944; ( synonym )

Gambusia das Caraíbas [ Português ]

Gambusia Caribeña [ Español ]

Caribbean Gambusia [ English ]

Geographical distribution :

Bahamas, Cuba, Caiman Islands, Jamaica, Haiti and Mexico ( Yucatan Peninsula ).

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I - Morphology Synopsis ( some meristic characters )

Total absolute lenght

Adult male : 36 to 47 mm

Adult female : 59 to 76 mm

Dorsal fin rays : / 8

Caudal fin rays : / 23

Scales on lateral line : 30 ( 31 )

Head lenght body lenght ratio ( male ) : 0,20

Head lenght body lenght ratio ( female ) : 0,17

You can find more pictures about these species availabe at the photo gallery.

II - Habitat and Geographical distribution

Gambusia puncticulata inhabits primarily lagoons, stagnant lakes, ponds and slow-moving streams, found in fresh, brackish and salt waters of coastal and lowland areas in Bahamas Islands, Caiman Islands, Jamaica and Cuba.

Some sources also point a few locations in western Haiti and eastern coasts of Yucatan Peninsula ( Mexico ).

While it can be found specially in motionless water some populations may occur in streams, salt/brackish coastal lagoons and even marine water feed lakes.

Usually form schools close to the shore.

III - Physical-chemistry parameters

Ideal temperature range : 22ºC ( 71.6ºF ) - 28ºC ( 82.4ºF )

Tolerated limits : 15ºC ( 59.0ºF ) and 34ºC ( 93.2ºF )

Survival limits : 12.8ºC ( 55.04ºF ) and 40ºC ( 104.0ºF )

Ideal pH : 7.2 - 8.7

Ideal dH : 8º - 17º

Maximum salinity : 1,030 ( 40,2 ppt )

Temperature annual maintenance for this species in captivity ( suggestion ) :

Thermal regime (1)

Thermal regime (2)

17ºC ( 62.6ºF )

18ºC ( 64.4ºF )

20ºC ( 68.0ºF )

21ºC ( 69.8ºF )

22ºC ( 71.6ºF )

23ºC ( 73.4ºF )

24ºC ( 75.2ºF )

25ºC ( 77.0ºF )

25ºC ( 77.0ºF )

26ºC ( 78.8ºF )

26ºC ( 78.8ºF )

27ºC ( 80.6ºF )

27ºC ( 80.6ºF )

28ºC ( 82.4ºF )

28ºC ( 82.4ºF )

29ºC ( 84.2ºF )

25ºC ( 77.0ºF )

26ºC ( 78.8ºF )

24ºC ( 75.2ºF )

25ºC ( 77.0ºF )

22ºC ( 71.6ºF )

23ºC ( 73.4ºF )

20ºC ( 68.0ºF )

20ºC ( 68.0ºF )

Each one of this table lines report a different monthly period.

The temperature values are provided only as a reference for captivity maintenance.

Performing on this way your action can be considered reasonable, according with the species known thermal exigencies.

It is sometimes difficult, if not even impossible, to recreate in aquarium the natural conditions, most favourable for the fish biology. The most ideal situation was, if you could be able to provide your fish a daily as well as a weekly temperature variation, like in the wild.

For better understanding about perfect environment or to simulate water temperature annual evolution according to natural habitat for this species, please be so kind and have a look to Cancun and Cienfuegos graphics at Wild water's temperatures ( all year round ) issue.


IV - Biology and ecology synopsis

This specie has propensity to be a carnivorous surface feeder but also some vegetal element is a relatively important part of the diet.

At Cuban freshwaters in conjunction with the Cuban Gambusia - Gambusia punctata - the Caribbean Gambusia plays an important competitive role pressing other oviparous Cyprinidontoids and pushing them to marginal refuges, specially estuarine and mangrove areas, ( with exception of the very highly specialized local members of the Rivulus Genus ).

Caribbean Gambusias are relatively remarkable breeders producing from about 30 to 70 fry to a very exceptional limit of roughly 90 fry by birth.

Under ideal conditions, gestation lasts between 4 and 5 weeks long.

The practice of spawning Gambusia puncticulata in breeding cages considered appropriated for other live-bearing fish species results in very high rank of disappointment.

Aquarium birth fish in early stages are easily raised with newly hatched brine shrimp and zooplankton, accepting very well some commercial fine particles food for juvenile fish.

Adults in captivity accept well the general feeding suggestions at the aquaristics section, but can also relish a diet made of milled row fish or molluscs and prepared flake foods as a complement, ( in particular those based on insect larvae but also prepared with vegetal components like spirulina algae or others ).

Although gregarious fish usually found in schools disputes are frequent, above all among members of the same sex. This pugnacity results however in rare little wounds but no further consequences. Death of one side only will take place very exceptionally, in particular if space smallness is not a problem.

Dominant individuals keep imposing themselves constantly to others.

Cannibalistic behaviour on newly birth fry is usually very widespread. Adults remaining in small spaces are extremely experts to eliminate all little fish, even of their own kind, unless appropriate environment is set to save and provide protection to immature young running from parents.

V - Complementary notes

This fish is not a proper aquarium companion to others more fragile, mostly those of small size or peaceful behaviour.

Is wise to avoid any contact between the Caribbean Gambusia with fish exhibiting remarkable body coloration large fins and little mobility.

They demand large room. 

As a rule, tank size and fish ratio is quite important, so, to keep only a small group, is advisable an 150 litres capacity aquarium as minimum requirement.

VI - Threats, protection and present status

Environment contamination by domestic and industrial wastewater dumping in to nature, aquatic resources use above levels that precipitation can re-establish for agriculture, industrial or human consumption, as exotic species introduction are the great threats that Gambusia puncticulata is facing at present in some locations of wild distribution.

The specie conservation status is not a issue for concerning at the moment and is not in the I.U.C.N. Red List.

memorandum about the Gambusia Genus : In more than 40 species placed on it, 9 are classified as vulnerable, 1 ( Gambusia eurystoma ) is critically endangered and 2 ( Gambusia amistadensis and Gambusia georgei ) are already extinct.

For further knowledge or information about this please check Livebearer Cyprinodontiformes in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Other topics available about this species :

We should be extremely gratified and thank you in advance if some one could provide new data about this topic, or even eventually any correction to be made on this document. For this purpose please be so kind and write us.

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