Status: Not Listed
Mangrove rivulus are small and slender fish that are dark brown to green in color with speckles of orange and black. They are amphibious fish, meaning they can survive on land and in water. Their small, rounded fins propel them through the water and their tail fin helps them to flip on land. Mangrove rivulus are tiny, reaching just 1 to 2.5 inches (2.5 to 6 centimeters) in length.
These fish are found in the United States throughout the Caribbean and along both coasts of central South Florida. Not surprisingly, mangrove rivulus are usually found in mangrove forests, particularly in stagnant pools. They take refuge in moist land crab burrows, leaf litter, logs, and even coconuts during dry spells or when water conditions become unfavorable. They can survive for two months out of water. The primary predators of mangrove rivulus are birds and mangrove water snakes.
Mangrove rivulus eat smaller fish, crabs, insects, snails, and worms. They can capture insects on land and bring them back to the water to eat.
These fish are the only known example of a self-fertilizing hermaphroditic vertebrate. In other words, many individuals have both male and female reproductive parts and are capable of producing genetically identical copies of themselves. Sexual reproduction also takes place, though, because under certain conditions, male rivulus do exist. In the presence of males, hermaphrodites function as females. The exact lifespan of the mangrove rivulus is unknown, but they have lived for eight years in captivity.
Mangrove rivulus in Florida are listed under the Endangered Species Act as a species of concern. Their main threats are their vulnerability to habitat degradation and alteration, as well as pollution. They are relatively abundant in the Caribbean.
To survive on land and in water, mangrove rivulus are able to breathe through their skin and their gills.
Florida Museum of Natural History
Journal of Experimental Biology
National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
The Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology
The National Wildlife Federation is providing resources to help families and caregivers across the country provide meaningful educational opportunities and safe outdoor experiences for children during these incredibly difficult times.Learn More
President and CEO Collin O’Mara reveals in a TEDx Talk why it is essential to connect our children and future generations with wildlife and the outdoors—and how doing so is good for our health, economy, and environment.Watch Now
Ditch the disposables and make the switch to sustainable products.Shop Now
Search, discover, and learn about wildlife. Anywhere, any time.Get the Apps
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.