150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

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150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

In 2020, the American Fisheries Society will celebrate its 150th Anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Society will be calling attention to 150 fishes. We solicited nominations of fishes for the list by the Society’s membership.

The 150 Fishes list is a celebration of the biodiversity of freshwater and marine fishes of North America. These fishes will help tell the story of fish and fisheries of the continent. They may illustrate unique life histories, beauty, conservation issues, and challenges of managing and conserving these animals and their habitats.  These fishes represent our native biodiversity, but also illustrates how invasives and our own human nature have had impacts on our aquatic resources. Hence, this list will primarily focus on native species but may include non-natives when they tell a compelling fisheries story. From the stories of these fishes, the Society and the public can learn to better appreciate these amazing natural resources and be challenged to ensure that future generations will be able to experience these fishes in their native settings.

Nomination Process

Fish nominations are now closed.

Circulation Process

The 150 Fishes list will reside at the 150th Anniversary Website, information about individual fish from the list will be circulated through various social media platforms throughout the year.

This list is meant to be a fun for members and informative for the public. It is unlikely we will be able to include all nominations. We acknowledge that every fish has a story. There may be opportunities to discuss all the nominated fishes in the future.


Catchy TitleSmall Brown Fishes Do Matter
Common Name of FishBanded Killifish
Scientific Name of FishFundulus diaphanus
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditCredit: Philip Willink
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

Many people are fascinated by gamefishes and large fishes. But do not forget the smaller, drabber, innocuous fishes. An excellent example is Banded Killifish. Divided into Eastern and Western subspecies by historical events, it rarely exceeds 4 inches. Many of the Western populations are declining, causing them to be listed as Endangered or Special Concern. But over the past few years, there has been a dramatic resurgence in their numbers. This looked like good news until an investigation of museum specimens revealed that the cause of the rebounding numbers was the spread of the Eastern subspecies westward, where they now hybridize and replace native Western populations. Biologists across the Great Lakes and Midwest are using DNA to determine invasion pathways, as well as conservation genetics techniques to assess the status of remnant native populations. States are responding by changing their policies to protect their natural biodiversity. Not bad for a small brown fish.

Website or Journal Article for More InformationWillink, P.W., T.A. Widloe, V.J. Santucci Jr., D. Makauskas, J.S. Tiemann, S.D. Hertel, J.T. Lamer, and J.L. Sherwood. 2018. Rapid expansion of banded killifish Fundulus diaphanus across Northern Illinois: dramatic recovery or invasive species? American Midland Naturalist 179:179-190.
Your NamePhilip Willink