Northern Studfish

I have been intriuged by this fish ever since seeing its picture in my prized Fishes of Alabama book. The author described this fish, a Northern Studfish, as being "one of the most beautiful topminnows in Alabama." So, imagine my surprise when my son, Sebastian, caught this fish in a cast net while we were catching minnows. It is indeed a beautiful fish. All of the following photos were taken of the fish in our aquarium. (We keep an aquarium of only native Alabama fishes.)

The scientific name of the Northern Studfish is Fundulus catenatus, which means Bottom Chained (which is an odd name for a topminnow.) They can be found in northern Alabama counties- this one was caught in Cypress Creek, which is in Lauderdale County. This topminnow also inhabits Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, and the extreme southern portion of Mississippi.

It is a small fish (or large minnow) adults grow to the size of 3" - 5.9". They typically eat insects, but may also consume snails.

This is the prized fish in our aquarium, and it is also prized by many others that only keep native fish in their aquariums.


The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Awesome, Daniel. I love that you have an aquarium with native fishes. However, that's something that is so typical of another nature geek! Great post - you taught me something yet again.

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Thanks, Debi. Keeping native fish seemed more interesting- and it has been. We now have 3 Bluegill (caught at Bob and Marilyn's), 4 Longeared Sunfish (really small ones), about 6 large minnows of some sort, the Northern Studfish, a leech, a small turtle, and about 10 freshwater snails and periwinkles. The driftwood and rock came from the shore right off Bob and Marilyn's house. In the 4 months we have had them- only one fish has died- a bluegill. Even with the 3 water changes- the fish seem to thrive. I have been pleasantly surpirsed at their hardiness. Thanks for your comment!

Sandpiper said...

These are beautiful pictures, Daniel.

me ann my camera said...

The pictures are beautiful, expecially the first and last. These little fish almost seem to portray a certain amount of personality in their portraits! said...

Hallo from OLD GERMANY !
Wonderful Picture from Fundulus catenatus ( northern studfish ).
Have you this fish in your aquarium ?
I´m looking for this species every years.
Have you eggs ?

Maik Greul from Zschoppelshain Germany

Anonymous said...

Thing of it, this fish looks great for about 2 weeks a year, then turns drab. The interval's even shorter when its in the aquarium. I know, I've had the fish from time to time obtained at killi club auctions.

My suggestion: leave it where it is. All North American native fish are endangered either directly or indirectly through overpopulation.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion: leave it where it is. All North American native fish are endangered either directly or indirectly through overpopulation.

Speaking as one who has had endangered fish and then watched them go extinct in the wild a few years later,...catch them and breed them. The danger to these fish is not hobbyists, but those who think they are just another minnow.