These fish inhabit freshwater and brackish water and are only rarely coastal marine. They originate from lowlands in southern Mexico to Honduras and northern South America.
The four-eyed fish here are fed a varied diet of mealworms, crickets, krill, shrimp, flake and pellet.
Their diet mostly consists of terrestrial insects which are readily available at the surface, however they may consume other foods such as other invertebrates and small fishes.
They are a schooling fish (usually of about six or more fish). These fish spend most of their time at the surface of the water, with half of their eyes out of the water.
Females give birth to around 10-15 live young. Males have a specially adapted fin (gonopodium) and females have a scale flap over their genital opening (they can cover the opening when they don’t want to breed). Males and females are either left or right sided. Right sided males can only mate with left sided females and vice versa. No one knows why! This species is extremely territorial during the breeding season.
Our aquarists, Tom and Sam, have filmed one of the females rolling on her side shortly before a few males approached. This has only recently been observed so we don’t know for sure why it happens, but it may be to disperse pheromones in the water to attract males. You can watch a video of this behaviour here.
Water pollution is one of their major threats. They are very often caught by humans and available to be sold at a moderate price.
There are no known conservation projects for this species.
- Latin Name: Anableps anableps
- Order: Cyprinodontiformes
- Family: Anablepidae
- Conservation Status: Data Deficient
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