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COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on the Banded Killifish, Newfoundland population in Canada

Special Significance of The Species

Fundulus diaphanus is one of  two cyprinodontid species in Newfoundland, the other being the mummichog, the closely related F. heteroclitus. As stated earlier Banded Killifish are considered a forage fish for brook trout and Atlantic salmon and are used as a bait fish in certain parts of North America (Houston 1990).

The populations of Banded Killifish in Newfoundland are at the eastern extent of the complete North American range of this species and are clustered in a fairly confined geographical area, with the exception of the Indian Bay population. This distribution of Banded Killifish might make it an ideal indicator species for development or industry in these areas that may impact upon freshwater ecosystems. The research contributing to this status report has helped to raise awareness of this species in Newfoundland and to synthesize much of the independent work being conducted on this species. The Banded Killifish is currently the subject of proposals by Parks Canada and the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture that will look at habitat selection and use in greater detail and the potential of artificial substrate utilization. It is recognized in the Winterland ecomuseum, an interpretive boardwalk through wetland and barrens on the Burin Peninsula, as a species existing in the Rush Ponds, and needing the muddy and densely-vegetated habitat these waterbodies provide. The most recently documented population is in the Grand Bay West area, where the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is in the process of creating an ecological reserve.