Throughout the Miami Everglades, you’ll find a wide variety of species of fish, ranging from an inch in length to weighing in at over 100lbs. On any Everglades tour, you’re sure to see several different species of fish and can learn more about them from your tour guide. Believe it or not, fish are crucial to the ecosystem of the Florida Everglades, whether by controlling the insect population or as food for larger fish, birds, and alligators. Every fish serves a purpose in maintaining the beauty of the Everglades.
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Smaller Species of Fish
Most smaller fish in the Everglades will feed off of insects, though some will also feed on plants growing in the water. While that may not seem like a big deal, controlling the insect population is an important role in the ecosystem.
This small, silvery, and aptly-named fish feeds off of mosquitoes flying just above the water and is the most common freshwater fish you’ll find in the Miami Everglades. In May and June, the water of the Everglades rises through the rainy season, creating an optimal breeding ground for mosquitofish, who then rapidly reproduce.
Another one of the smallest fish that live in the Everglades, Least Killifish grow to just about one inch in length. Like the mosquitofish, they feed on insects. Unlike the mosquitofish, they can only have one baby at a time, though they’re able to have one a day throughout their lifespan of just a few weeks. Look out for this small, brown-striped fish if you have keen eyesight.
The Sailfin Molly lives in both fresh and saltwater and grows to about five inches in length, slightly longer than the previous species of fish above. This species is unique in that they are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants, not insects. Look out for this small, silvery fish in the waters of the Everglades.
Larger Species of Fish
The Everglades are also full of larger species of fish that feed off the smaller species of fish while being targeted by fishermen. If you’re planning on fishing while visiting the Everglades, it’s a good idea to look up regulations for doing so. Certain fish in certain locations have restrictions for catching them.
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You’ll often spot this large fish near the surface of the water. This fish, unlike most others, requires oxygen to live and if it cannot get to the surface, it will suffocate. It can also grow to be up to three feet in length and has quite a tough exterior. Between the sharp teeth and thick scales, it’s a formidable fish that feeds on smaller fish, shrimp, and crayfish. Look for irregular black spots on its head and body, as well as a short, broad snout.
If you enjoy fishing, you’ve likely heard of the Largemouth Bass, which can weight up to twelve pounds. It has a white belly and green back with black spots. They feed on anything from small fish and worms to frogs and snakes — even turtle and alligator hatchlings. While they can be found elsewhere in the United States, they are native to Florida and have even been named the state fish. Fishermen looking to catch a largemouth bass should be wary. There are many restrictions on fishing in the Everglades, so pay close attention and do your research ahead of time.
Nicknamed sleepers by fishermen, these large fish are abundant in the Everglades in March through June and can often be found lying motionless just below the surface. They’re coveted by sport fishermen because they can grow up to a massive weight of over 100 pounds. Depending on when you visit the Miami Everglades, keep an eye out for this impressive fish that can be found along the coasts and waterways of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.
Tour the Everglades and Learn About Native Fish Species
Fishermen aren’t the only ones who can enjoy seeing the fish native to the Everglades. On your airboat tour, hear all about the role fish, as well as mammals, amphibians, and plant life, play in the unique ecosystem of the Florida Everglades. Our tour guides will fill you in on everything they know about the Everglades, as well as conservation efforts to preserve its ecosystem.