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 TitleThe toughest little fish in the world
Common Name of FishMummichog
Scientific Name of FishFundulus heteroclitus
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditMummichog - USGS (public domain)
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

An important fish in Atlantic coast estuaries, the mummichog can live happily in full strength sea water and in freshwater. They can deal with anoxic water by gulping air at the surface. They deposit eggs out of water up on the salt marsh at the level of the high spring tide, and after 14 days, when the next high spring tide comes up that high, the embryos are ready to hatch out. They are very tolerant of stressful conditions, and can live in waters that are too polluted for other fish to survive. They were the first fish shown to develop tolerance to environmental pollution. Initial studies showed that fish living in metal contaminated estuaries developed tolerance of embryos to mercury and other metals, and subsequent studies showed how populations in PCB-contaminated environments became more tolerant of these organic contaminants. In 1973 they became the first fish in space. Scientists on the Skylab space station showed that they could swim in zero gravity.

Read more:

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Judith_Weis/publication/248944690_Tolerance_to_Environmental_Contaminants_in_the_Mummichog_Fundulus_heteroclitus/links/553679df0cf268fd00184c98.pdf
Your NameJudith Weis