Taxonomic name: Poecilia reticulata Peters, 1859
Synonyms: Acanthophacelus guppii (Günther, 1866), Acanthophacelus reticulatus (Peters, 1859), Girardinus guppii Günther, 1866, Girardinus reticulatus (Peters, 1859), Haridichthys reticulatus (Peters, 1859), Heterandria guppyi (Günther, 1866), Lebistes poecilioides De Filippi, 1861, Lebistes poeciloides De Filippi, 1861, Lebistes reticulatus (Peters, 1859), Poecilia reticulatus Peters, 1859, Poecilioides reticulatus (Peters, 1859)
Common names: guppie (Afrikaans), guppii (Japanese), guppy (English), hung dzoek ue (Cantonese), ikan seribu (Malay), lareza tripikaloshe (Albanian), lebistes (Portuguese), lepistes (Turkish), Mexicano (Portuguese), miljoenvis (Afrikaans), miljoonakala (Finnish), million fish (English), millionenfisch (German), millions (English), poisson million (French), queue de voile (French), rainbow fish (English), sarapintado (Portuguese), Sardinita (Spanish), Wilder Riesenguppy (German), zivorodka duhová (Czech)
Organism type: fish
Poecilia reticulata is a small benthopelagic fish native to Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela and the Caribbean Islands. It is a popular aquarium species and is also commonly used in genetics research. In the past Poecilia reticulata was widely introduced for mosquito control but there have been rare to non-existing measurable effects on mosquito populations. It can occupy a wide range of aquatic habitats and is a threat to native cyprinids and killifishes. It is a carrier of exotic parasites and is believed to play a role in the decline of several threatened and endangered species.
Poecilia reticulata is a very small opportunistic benthopelagic (feeding on bottom, midwaters, or near the surface) non-migratory fish that can inhabit both fresh and brackish water.P. reticulata males are smaller, reaching an average length of 3.5cm compared 5cm in females. Besides being half the size of females, males have a colourful tail and caudal fin. This species has 7-8 dorsal soft rays and 8-10 anal soft rays (FishBase, 2006).
estuarine habitats, lakes, water courses
Occurs in warm springs and their effluents, weedy ditches and canals. Found in various habitats, ranging from highly turbid water in ponds, canals and ditches at low elevations to pristine mountain streams at high elevations. Has a wide salinity range but requires fairly warm temperatures (23-24 °C) and quiet vegetated water for survival (FishBase, 2006).
Poecilia reticulata is considered a hazard to native cyprinids and killifishes in the United States. It has been implicated in the decline of native fishes in Nevada and Wyoming, and of native damselflies in Hawaii. It is a known carrier of trematode parasites, which may affect native fish populations (Nico, 2001). It eats the eggs of native fish species and acts as a host for the parasitic nematode Camallanus cotti, and the Asian tapeworm Bothriocephalus acheilognathi in Hawaii (Eldredge, 2000).
Hybrids between P. reticulata and P. mexicana and between P. reticulata and Xiphophorus helleri are shown to threaten species of native fish in the western USA (Courtenay and Meffe, 1989 in Eldredge, 2000).
Poecilia reticulata is a popular aquarium species and is also commonly used in genetics research. In the past P. reticulata was widely introduced in hopes of gaining mosquito control, but there have been rare to non-existing measurable effects on mosquitoes populations (FishBase, 2006).
Native range: Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela, and the Caribbean Islands (Linholm et al., 2005; and Nico, 2006).
Known introduced range: Asia, Australasia-Pacific, Europe, North America, and South America (GBIF, 2006).
Introduction pathways to new locations
Biological control: In the past P. reticulata was widely introduced in hopes of gaining mosquito control, but there have been rare to non-existing measurable effects on mosquitoes populations (FishBase, 2006). Linholm et al. (2005) state that, "In Australia, multiple introductions of guppies are likely to have occurred. They were probably first brought to Australia around 1910. At this time guppies were sent through the Colonial Office to various tropical colonies for mosquito control (Vipan 1910)." Some of the California introductions were for mosquito control (Shapovalov et al. 1981; Dill and Cordone 1997) (Nico, 2006).
Pet/aquarium trade: P. reticulata is a popular aquarium species (FishBase, 2006). Guppies are also popular ornamental fish in Australia, and introductions may have resulted from escapes or releases from aquaria or outdoor breeding ponds (Linholm et al., 2005 in McKay 1984).
Feeds on zooplankton, small insects and detritus. Feeds mainly on insects and has been observed consuming: ceratopogonids, chironomids, culicids, dipterans, hemipterans, and hymenopterans (FishBase, 2006).
Male Poecilia reticulata anal fins are transformed into a gonopodium for internal fertilization. Males are continuously chasing and mating females. Females can store sperms for later fertilization and may produce young every four weeks. Pregnant females are recognizable by black triangle between anal and pelvic fins. After a gestation period of four to six weeks females give birth to 20-40 live young. No parental care is exercised and parents may even prey on their young (FishBase, 2006).
Reviewed by: Pam Fuller USGS/BRD Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program Florida Integrated Science Center Gainesville, Florida USA
Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Friday, 27 October 2006