The fish are tiny. Females are less than an inch long and males are half that size.
“They are considered the smallest fish and one of the smallest vertebrates in North America. They are extremely small,” she said.
That makes them convenient research subjects since they don’t need much real estate, she said.
“I can easily fit 60 to 80 in a 10-gallon aquarium,” she said.
Studying their even tinier organs is a challenge, but catching the fish is surprisingly easy, she said.
“They’re shallow-water fish. You literally stand at the water’s edge and take a dip net and scoop them up,” she said.
Killifish can live more than three years in captivity. In the wild, their populations succumb to a lot of predation.
“They’re not an aggressive fish so everything eats them,” she said.
They hedge against these dangers by giving birth to live young and having a high fecundity, Jackson said. They can reproduce about every 28 days.