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a family of small freshwater fish of the order Microcyprini. The body, which measures 3– cm long, is spindle-shaped or round, with a vertically compressed caudal peduncle. The fins are spineless, the head is usually somewhat flattened, and the mouth is small, finite, and directed upward. The jaw usually protrudes; the teeth are small and well developed. There are approximately 430 species in fresh waters of the tropical and temperate zones of America, as well as in Africa and South and Southeast Asia. There are three species in Southern Europe; none are found in the USSR. Cyprinodonts lay their eggs on benthic vegetation; some species bury them in the mud. Several species are extremely hardy, inhabiting hot springs at temperatures of 40°-50°C (fish or the genus Cyprinodon). Many cyprinodonts are found in areas where there are dry and rainy spells. When bodies of water dry up, the fish die but the eggs buried in the mud survive. When the rains begin, masses of fish develop.
Many species of the family Cyprinodontidae are extremely beautiful (particularly the males) and easily adapt to aquariums. In the USSR, various species of the genera Epiplatys, Aplochelius, Aphyosemion, Notobranchus, Rivulus, Fundulus, and Oryzias are among the fishes that are bred for aquariums. Some cy-prinodonts are used in ecological and genetic experiments; these include the species Fundulus heteroclitus and representatives of the genera Oryzias, Cyprinodon, and Aphanius.
T. S. Rass