Bermuda’s Killifish. *Photo supplied
Bermuda’s Killifish. *Photo supplied

Bermuda’s killifish may be small in size, but they are hugely important in terms of the island’s native ecology.

The two species that live in brackish ponds across the island can be found nowhere else in the world.

And it now appears there may even be a third endemic species of Bermuda killifish that has never been discovered before.

At present genetic tests are taking place in the US to determine whether the species found originally in Evans Pond and now the Riddell’s Bay Golf Course pond are sufficiently different from the two existing species to represent another species.

Wildlife ecologist, Mark Outerbridge, told the Sun: “Dr Richard Mayden from St Louis University visited the island in May of this year and took a small sample of our Evans Pond killifish back to the US.

“This genetic testing is ongoing and we should get preliminary results by the end of the year.

“It would be an extremely exciting development. There has been no genetic mixing between the populations for tens of thousands of years so there is every possibility of a different species existing without our knowing.”

Killifish are found in ponds across the island including Mangrove Lake and Trott’s Pond in Hamilton Parish as well as Warwick Pond and the Walsingham lagoon near Tom Moore’s Tavern.

Mr Outerbridge added: “Bermuda’s killifish are an excellent at controlling mosquitos by eating their larvae and they currently represent about one quarter of our endemic fish species.

 “If these little fish were to die out in Bermuda they would sadly join the ranks of other extinct animals like the Dodo, the passenger pigeon, and the Tasmanian tiger.” n