Introduction of Bluefin Killifish lucania goodei into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Brian Mahardja, Andrew Goodman, Alisha Goodbla, Andrea D. Schreier, Catherine Johnston, Rebecca C. Fuller, Dave Contreras, Louanne McMartin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biological invasion by non-native species has been identified as one of the major threats to native fish communities worldwide. The fish community of San Francisco Estuary is no exception, as the estuary has been recognized as one of the most invaded on the planet and the system has been impacted significantly by these invasions. Here, we summarize the introduction and probable establishment of a new species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Bluefin Killifish (Lucania goodei), as discovered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program (DJFMP). The DJFMP has conducted a large-scale beach seine survey since 1976, and it is the longestrunning monitoring program in the San Francisco Estuary that extensively monitors the shallowwater nearshore habitat. Possibly introduced as discarded aquarium fish within the vicinity of the Delta Cross Channel, Bluefin Killifish is a close relative of the Rainwater Killifish (Lucania parva), another non-native fish species that has been present in the San Francisco Estuary system for decades. Studies in their native range suggest that Bluefin Killifish will fill a similar niche to Rainwater Killifish, albeit with a more freshwater distribution. The potential ecological impact of Bluefin Killifish remains unclear in the absence of additional studies. However, we have been able to track the spread of the species within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through the existence of long-term monitoring programs. Our findings demonstrate the value of monitoring across various habitats for the early detection and proactive management of invasive species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalSan Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Biological invasion
  • Bluefin killifish
  • Introduced species
  • Life history
  • Lucania goodei

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

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