Freshwater Fishes

  • Aquatic habitats fluctuate with the seasons, limiting distribution of fishes during the dry season

brown bullhead fish

Brown Bullhead. Photo © Noel Burkhead

Close to 100 species of freshwater fish have been documented in south Florida including aquatic habitats throughout the Everglades region.

These fish include :

everglades fish, florida gar

Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus). Photo © George Burgess

everglades fish, bowfin

Bowfin (Amia calva). Photo © George Burgess



everglades fish, tarpon

Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus). Photo © Don DeMaria

everglades fish, brown bullhead

Brown Bullhead (Ictalurus nebulosus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, channelcat

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, tadpole madtom

Tadpole Madtom (Noturus gyrinus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, gulf killifish

Gulf Killifish (Fundulus grandis). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, diamond killifish

Diamond Killifish (Adinia xenica). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, bluefin killifish

Bluefin Killifish (Lucania goodei). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, golden shiner

Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, taillight shiner

Taillight Shiner (Notropis maculatus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, coastal shiner

Coastal Shiner (Notropis petersoni). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, lake chubsucker

Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, sheepshead minnow

Sheepshead Minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, golden topminnow

Golden Topminnow (Fundulus chrysotus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, flagfish

Flagfish (Jordanella floridae). Photo © Ronald E. Watson

everglades fish, mosquitofish

Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki). Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

everglades fish, least killifish

Least Killifish (Heterandria formosa). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, sailfin molly

Sailfin Molly (Poecilia latipinna). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, brook silverside

Brook Silverside (Labidesthes sicculus). Photo © Ronald Watson

everglades fish, pygmy sunfish

Everglades Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma evergladei). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, largemouth bass

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, spotted sunfish

Spotted Sunfish (Lepomis punctatus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, redear sunfish

Redear Sunfish (Lepomis microlophus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, bluegill

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, bluespotted sunfish

Bluespotted Sunfish (Enneacanthus gloriosus). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, swamp darter

Swamp Darter (Etheostoma fusiforme). Photo © Noel Burkhead

everglades fish, crevalle jack

Crevalle Jack (Caranx hippos). Photo © David Snyder

everglades fish, gray snapper

Gray Snapper (Lutjanus griseus). Photo © Luiz Rocha

everglades fish, sheepshead

Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus). Photo © David Snyder

everglades fish, striped mullet

Striped Mullet (Mugil cephalus). Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

everglades fish, barracuda

Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda). Photo © Steve Jones

 
  • and rainwater killifish (Lucania parva) not shown
marsh in drought

During drought conditions, aquatic habitats became scarce. Photo courtesy South Florida Water Management District

During the rainy season, flooding scatters fish across the everglades while during the dry season water fish become limited to deeper water habitats and gator holes. Changes in water level and dissolved oxygen concentrations require fish to be specially adapted to this ever-changing environment. Some fish are able burrow into the sediments and aestivate (live in a dormant state) during the dry season.

pelican diving for fish

Pelican diving for fish. Photo courtesy South Florida Water Management District

Fish provide a mainstay in the everglades food webs. Feeding an algae, aquatic insects, and crustaceans, fish in turn provide food for a variety of predators including alligators and wading birds as well as larger fish.