Lake Eustis pupfish


Lake Eustis pupfish: Cyprinodon variegatus hubbsi

Taxonomic Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii 
Order: Atheriniformes
Family: Cyprinodontidae
Genus/Species: Cyprinodon variegatus
Subspecies: Cyprinodon variegatus hubbsi
Common Name: Lake Eustis pupfish

Listing Status

Federal Status: Not Listed
FL Status: No longer listed in Florida as of January 11, 2017, but is part of the Imperiled Species Management Plan.
FNAI Ranks: G5T2Q/S2 (Globally: Demonstrably Secure, Sub sp. Imperiled [classification as subspecies questioned/State: Imperiled)
IUCN Status: Not ranked

Physical Description

The Lake Eustis pupfish is a small fish that can reach up to three inches (7.6 centimeters) in total body length.  This species generally has a light brown body with dark vertical stripes around the body and a white dorsum (back), except for breeding males who have a blue back with a clear tail and back fin (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).

Life History

The diet of the Lake Eustis pupfish primarily consists of crustaceans and aquatic insect larvae (Johnson and Snelson 1978).

Little is known about the reproduction of the Lake Eustis pupfish.  Female pupfish spawn throughout the year, with the female carrying seven to 29 eggs at one time.  During spawning, the males will develop nests by constructing depressions in the sand while vigorously defending it from other males.  Females are not chased away and are courted instead (Johnson and Snelson 1978).

Habitat and Distribution

Lake Eustis Pupfish Distribution Map

The Lake Eustis pupfish inhabits freshwater lakes along clean, white sandy beaches subject to heavy wave action in areas largely devoid of vegetation in Lake, Marion, and Orange counties (Gilbert et al. 1992).


The small geographic range and narrow habitat niche inhabited by this species in the heavily populated Central Florida region suggests that habitat loss and contamination are potential threats to the Lake Eustis pupfish.  Lack of exotic aquatic vegetation management, alteration of lake shore habitat, and introduction of non-native, predatory fish are other threats that may cause population declines.

Conservation and Management

The Lake Eustis pupfish is protected from take by 68A-4.001, F.A.C.

Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule External Website.

Species Action Plan Adobe PDF

Biological Status Review (BSR) Adobe PDF
Supplemental Information for the BSR Adobe PDF

Other Informative Links

Florida Natural Areas Inventory External Website



Printable version of this page Adobe PDF


Florida Natural Areas Inventory.  2001.  Field guide to the rare animals of Florida.   External Website

Gilbert, C.R., W.E. Johnson, and F.F. Snelson. 1992. Lake Eustis pupfish Cyprinodon variegatus hubbsi. Pp. 194-199. In C.R. Gilbert, ed., Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. Vol. II. Fishes. University Presses of Florida, Gainesville.

Johnson, W.E., and F.F. Snelson. 1978. Lake Eustis pupfish, Cyprinodon variegatus hubbsi Carr. Pp. 15-17 in C.R. Gilbert, ed., Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. Vol. 4. Fishes. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Image Credit FWC

FWC Facts:
The spatulate bill of the roseate spoonbill has sensitive nerve endings that help it detect prey, and the shape helps the bird move sediment and catch the prey.

Learn More at AskFWC