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Species: Poecilia reticulata, Guppy, Guppy Molly

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male highly variable: black spot top & bottom tail base, 1+ black spots on front body
D origin behind pelvic origin, male: long, +
D 6-7; A 8
male: pelvic tips swollen, sex organ short, + v long palp & spines under straight tip
scales: 25-27 lateral, 14 around tail base

Poecilia reticulata Peters, 1859

Guppy, Guppy Molly

Head and body moderately robust, moderately compressed at rear; head depressed; front nostril not tubular; covering of eye not continuous with skin of head; mouth small, at front, slightly oblique, lower jaw slightly projecting, top jaw protractile; jaw teeth consist of an outer row of large backward curved teeth with expanded tips, and several rows of small pointed teeth; 1 dorsal fin with short base, its origin behind pelvic origin, 7-8 rays; pelvic origin well behind pectoral base, near anal fin; tip of pelvic fin of males distinctly swollen, elongate; pectorals high on flank, 5th ray not scalloped in male; anal fin 8 (rarely 9) rays, origin under (female) or a little behind (male) dorsal fin origin; 3rd anal ray unbranched; anal fin modified in male to form an elongate sex organ, that organ relatively short, with straight tip that has small spines & a long fleshy palp that extends past the tip of the organ; tail base relatively narrow; tail fin rounded, without elongate sword; scales smooth and relatively large, 25-28 lateral scales, 14 around the tail base.

Male: highly variable; body with black stripes and spots in red, orange or other colors and patterns, typically including at a black spot on upper or lower tail base and at least one other black spot on front half of body; dorsal and tail fins with red and black spots, plus black and white markings. Female: upper body pale grey-green, lower body whitish; dorsal and tail fins colorless or with scattered black spots; an indistinct dark spot at the back of the belly.

Reaches 6.7 cm for females, 3.7 cm for males.

Fresh to brackish water.

Depth range: 0-1 m.

Naturally from Venezuela to Guyana; introduced elsewhere throughout the region.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Detritivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Detritus
  • Insects
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 6.7
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 1