(redirected from gambusias)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical.


Any of various small live-bearing fishes of the genus Gambusia of the Americas, which are popular in home aquariums and have become widely naturalized because of their use for mosquito control.

[New Latin Gambusia, genus name, coined (perhaps in reference to their small size) in 1851 by Cuban zoologist Felipe Poey y Aloy from Cuban Spanish colloquial gambusino, nothing (as in pescar gambusinos, to go on a snipe hunt, literally "to fish for gambusinos"), variant of Spanish gamusino, imaginary creature that children or naive persons are sent to hunt as a practical joke, object of a snipe hunt; perhaps akin to Old French gabuser, to dupe, from gab, mockery, jeering, probably from Old Norse gabb; akin to gabba, to scoff; see gab.]


1. (Animals) a member of a genus of small primarily freshwater fish of the family Poeciliidae, widely used in aquaria
2. (Animals) the mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)


(gæmˈbyu ʒə, -ʒi ə)

n., pl. -sias.
any fish of the genus Gambusia, comprising small livebearers that feed on aquatic insect larvae and are used to control mosquitoes.
[1900–05; < New Latin, alter. of Cuban Sp gambusino; see -ia]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.gambusia - mosquitofishGambusia - mosquitofish        
fish genus - any of various genus of fish
Gambusia affinis, mosquitofish - silvery topminnow with rows of black spots of tropical North America and West Indies; important in mosquito control
References in periodicals archive ?
All surviving Big Bend gambusias have descended from these three fish.
One of just two existing populations of the Big Bend gambusia (Gambusia gaigei) was lost when the spring went dry.
Though Big Bend gambusia thrived for centuries in this habitat along the Rio Grande, its existence is now threatened by waning spring flows, fluctuating water temperatures, and competition with other fish.