Eastern Mudminnow, Umbra pygmaea
Four species of mudminnows are found in North America, and only one species
is found in Virginia waters. These small, primitive stream fishes can breath
atmospheric oxygen and thereby can survive in low oxygen waters unsuitable
for many other fishes. They are little know fishes that forage by night and
hide by day. These small stream fishes add to the aquatic diversity and
serve as links in the food chain and indicators of water quality.
· Robust or stout body
· Elongate and broad anteriorly, somewhat compressed posteriorly
· Large, vertically elongate blotch at the base of the caudal
· Adults have dark and light horizontal stripes on the body
· Snout is short and well rounded
· Tail fin round
· Dark olive to brown and lighter areas are cream to yellow
· Central mudminnow (Umbra limi)
· European mudminnow (U. krameri)
Mean body size:
· Adults are 50-100 mm standard length
· Sluggish creeks, streams, lakes, and marshes
· Bury in mud during daylight
Distribution in VA:
· Found in all major and some minor Atlantic drainages in Virginia
· One of the southern-most freshwater fish found on the Delmarva Peninsula
· Mainly eat insects, snails, crustaceans, and crayfishes
· Mature by age 1 or 2
· Spawning occurs in late March and April at 10-15°C
· Nest sites are reported to be cavities in algal masses
· Males court the females by flaunting spread fins
· After spawning, both sexes remain guard at the nest
· Fecundity is 31-2,566 eggs per female
Population Status, Economic, or Ecological Importance:
· Helps control mosquito populations
· Also used as aquarium fish.
Jenkins, R.E and N.M. Burkhead. 1993. Freshwater Fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.
Page, L.M. and M.B. Brooks. 1991. A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes, North America, North of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.
If you are seeking more information for the above species click on the VAFWIS logo (The Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service):
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