University of California
California Fish Website

Fish Species


 Common Name Shortfin Molly
 Scientific Name Poecilia mexicana
 Native No
 Identification
Shortfin molly, male. Location: In a wash just south of Bombay Beach,  Salton Sea. Date: Sept. 27, 2010. Photo by Sharon Keeney, California Department of Fish and Game.
Shortfin molly, male. Location: In a wash just south of Bombay Beach, Salton Sea. Date: Sept. 27, 2010. Photo by Sharon Keeney, California Department of Fish and Game.

Shortfin molly, female. Location: In a wash just south of Bombay Beach,  Salton Sea. Date: Sept. 27, 2010. Photo by Sharon Keeney, California Department of Fish and Game.
Shortfin molly, female. Location: In a wash just south of Bombay Beach, Salton Sea. Date: Sept. 27, 2010. Photo by Sharon Keeney, California Department of Fish and Game.

  • Dorsal fin has 8-11 rays and originates behind the origin of the pelvic fins
  • Thick caudal peduncle with a stubby rounded tail
  • 25-30 large scales on the lateral line
  • Olivaceous in color with rows of orangeish spots on the side, a white to pale orange belly, anal, and pelvic fin, and a metallic blue tail with orange spots
  • Large males are typically dark green with black spots on the dorsal fin
  • Always measure less than 11 cm TL
 Life History Little is known about the Shortfin Molly but it is believed to be similar to the Sailfin Molly in terms of its life cycle. The Shortfin Molly has been found in temperatures from 15°C to 36°C but seems to prefer 20-30°C. They have been found in areas with salinities as high as 18 ppt but it is assumed that they can withstand much higher salinities. Shortfin Mollies are believed to be herbivorous.

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