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Saltmarsh Topminnow

Fundulus jenkinsi

Listing Status

  • Federal Status: Not listed
  • FL Status: State-designated Threatened
  • FNAI Ranks: G2/S2 (Imperiled)
  • IUCN Status: Not ranked


saltmarsh top minnow

The saltmarsh topminnow is a smaller species of the Genus Fundulus (Gilbert 1992).  This species can reach a body length of 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters).  Saltmarsh topminnows are light brown with two rows of black spots on the midside of the body (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).


The diet of the saltmarsh topminnow primarily consists of insects and a type of crustacean called amphipods (Lopez et al. 2010). 

Little is known about the reproduction of the saltmarsh topminnow.  It is known to breed between the months of March and August, with increased breeding during high tides.  Larvae can be found in May and June, while juveniles are first found in July.  A lifespan of greater than two years is rare (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration 2009, Lang 2010).


saltmarsh top minnow map

The saltmarsh topminnow inhabits low-salinity salt marshes and estuaries dominated by Spartinacordgrasses from Galveston Bay, Texas, east to the extreme western portion of the Florida panhandle (Peterson et al. 2003).


The saltmarsh topminnow is vulnerable to many threats as humans continue to develop previously undeveloped areas.  Salt marshes are vulnerable from the practice of “dredge and fill”.  Dredge and fill involves the dredging of salt marshes and filling them with sediment.  This is performed to provide increased areas for human development including coastal housing.  Dredge and fill practices can also cause a decrease in available prey for the saltmarsh topminnow.  Marsh erosion and hurricanes have also caused damage to salt marsh habitat.  Other threats include global climate change, as the accompanying sea level rise will cause increased water temperatures and increased salinity levels in prime habitats.

Conservation and Management

The saltmarsh topminnow is protected as a State-designate Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.

Biological Status Review (BSR)
Supplemental Information for the BSR
Species Action Plan

Other Informative Links

Printable version of this page


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

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service. 2009. Saltmarsh topminnow Fundulus jenkinsi, Species of Concern factsheet. National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Species. Silver Spring, Maryland. 3p.

Gilbert, C.R., 1992. Saltmarsh topminnow Fundulus jenkinsi. Pp. 68-72. In C.R. Gilbert, ed. Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. Vol. II. Fishes. University Presses of Florida,    Gainesville.

Lang, E. 2010. Reproductive life history of Fundulus jenkinsi and comparative development of  five sympatric Fundulid species. Master of Science Thesis, The University of Southern  Mississippi. 70 p.

Lopez, J.D., M. S. Peterson, E. T. Lang, and A. M. Charbonnet. 2010a. Linking habitat and life   history for conservation of the rare saltmarsh topminnow Fundulus jenkinsi:     morphometrics, reproduction, and trophic ecology. Endangered Species Research V12:141-155.

Mark S. Peterson, Gregory L. Fulling, and Christa M. Woodley.  2003.  Status and habitat  characteristics of the saltmarsh topminnow, fundulus jenkinsi (Evermann) in eastern   Mississippi and western Alabama coastal bayous.  Gulf and Caribbean Research Vol 15, 51–59, 2003