Addressıng of Invasıve Alıen Specıes Threats ın Terrestrıal Areas and Inland Waters ın Turkey

Eastern American Mosquito Fish

(Gambusia holbrooki)

Eastern American Mosquito Fish

Family Name: Poecilidae

Species Name:
Gambusia holbrooki

Synonym name:
Gambusia affinis holbrooki

Zygonectes atrilatus

Haplochilus melanops

Gambusia modesta

Gambusia myersi

Common Name: Doğu Sivrisinek Balığı

English Name: Eastern Mosquitofish

Group: Inland water fish

Year of introduction: 1920 (White ve Pyke, 2009)

Year of first report: 1975 (Balık, 1975)

National distribution area:

There are reports from all basins except Çoruh, Kura-Aras and Yeşilırmak (Kurtul, 2018; Yoğurtçuoğlu and Ekmekçi, 2018).

Details of distribution:

The most intense distribution report is provided from Sakarya basin. This basin is followed by Antalya, Asi River and Büyük Menderes basins. The smallest number of reports is provided from northern and eastern parts of Turkey (Yoğurtçuoğlu ve Ekmekçi, 2018). 

Type of Pathway of introduction way:

by human hand, floods and artificial watercourses

Natural distribution area:

East of North America. Throughout the east of the Apalachian Mountains to the states of Miami and New Orleans (Pyke, 2008).


Although they have a very flexible habitat compatibility, they generally prefer areas which are shallow, still or low-flow waters and underwater plants (Pyke, 2005; Pyke, 2008).






It has a potential of very high invasiveness (Tarkan et al. 2017)


It is known to have serious negative effects on local fauna (various invertebrates, fish and amphibians) in the environments it enters. These effects generally occur in the form of aggression, direct hunting (predation) and competition for habitats and resources (Pyke, 2008). It could be acknowledged that the endemic species dişlisazancık which has a very similar ecological niche with this species and many rare amphibian species sharing same habitat are under high risk.  (Yoğurtçuoğlu, 2016; Yoğurtçuoğlu and Ekmekçi, 2017; Yoğurtçuoğlu et. al. 2020).  


Carrying this species from one place to another for any purpose should be completely prohibited. With the effective use of early warning tools such as citizen science or eDNA scanning, the species needs to be recognized early and eliminated or controlled to the extent possible. It is recommended that awareness raising trainings on the harms and control measures of the species should be expanded in cooperation with local administration units in regions where the species is dense.


  1. Balık, S. (1975) Batı Anadolu tatlısu balıklarının taksonomik durumu ve bu formların bölgedeki coğrafik dağılımları. T.B.T.A. K.V. Bilim Kongresi, 29 Eylül–2 Ekim 1975, İzmir, pp. 299–313.
  2. Kurtul, I. (2018) Türkiye’de Gambusia (Sivrisinek Balığı) Türlerinin dağılımı ve biyoekolojik özelliklerinin incelenmesi. Ege Üniversitesi, Doktora Tezi, 221 s.
  3. Pyke G.H. (2005) A Review of the Biology of Gambusia affinis and G. holbrooki. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 15, 339–365.
  4. Pyke G.H. (2008) Plague Minnow or Mosquito Fish? A Review of the Biology and Impacts of IntroducedGambusiaSpecies. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics 39, 171–191.
  5. Tarkan A.S., Vilizzi L., Top N., Ekmekçi F.G., Stebbing P.D. & Copp G.H. (2017) Identification of potentially invasive freshwater fishes, including translocated species, in Turkey using the Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (AS-ISK). International Review of Hydrobiology 102, 47–56.
  6. White A. & Pyke G. (2011) World War II and the rise of the plague minnow Gambusia holbrooki (Girard, 1859) in Australia. Australian Zoologist 35, 1024–1032.
  7. Yoğurtçuoğlu B., Uyan U. & Ekmekçi F.G. (2020) The influence of environmental instability on the reproductive strategy of the critically endangered Acıgöl killifish ( Aphanius transgrediens ). Journal of Fish Biology. DOI: 10.1111/jfb.14358
  8. Yoğurtçuoğlu B. & Ekmekçi F.G. (2018) An update on the distribution of globally invasive Gambusia holbrooki in Turkish freshwaters.’ Joint Esenias and Dias Scientific Conferencea and 8th Esenias Workshop, 25-29 September 2018, p 98.
  9. Yoğurtçuoğlu B. & Ekmekçi F.G. (2017) Variation in Life History and Feeding Ecology of the Invasive Eastern Mosquitofish , Gambusia holbrooki Girard , 1859 ( Poeciliidae ), in a Groundwater-dependent Wetland in Turkey. Acta Zoologica Bulgarica, Supplementum 9 117-130
  10. Yoğurtçuoğlu B. (2016) İstilacı bir balık türü Gambusia holbrooki ile endemik bir balık türü Aphanius transgrediens’in Acıgöl (Denizli-Afyon) kaynaklarındaki yaşam döngüleri, besin rekabeti ve habitat kullanımları. Hacettepe Üniversitesi, Doktora tezi. 236 s.