(Poecilia reticulata)




Facts about this animal

The guppy is a small, highly prolific livebearer. Males are considerably smaller 2½-3½ centimetres long) than females (4-6 centimetres long). They are also more colourful and have longer tails and backfins. Their anal fin is transformed into a gonopodium for internal fertilization.

Females mature at about 3 months of age. They can store sperms for later fertilization and may produce young every four weeks. Pregnant females can be recognized by a black spot between anal and pelvic fins. After a gestation period of four to six weeks they give birth to 20-40 live young. No parental care is exercised and parents may even prey on their young.

Guppies feed on zooplankton, small insects and detritus.

Did you know?
that the guppy was widely introduced and established in countries of all continents, except Antarctica, mainly for mosquito control? The effects on mosquitoes were, however, rare to non-existing effects, and there may have been negative on native fishes. In Africa, feral populations are reported from the coastal reaches of Natal rivers from Durban southwards, as well as in the Eye of Kuruman in the Kalahari, and Lake Otjikoto in Namibia. The author has even encountered guppies at such an unlikely place as a few residual puddles in a dry rivier in the middle of Damaraland desert.


Name (Scientific) Poecilia reticulata
Name (English) Guppy
Name (French) Guppy
Name (German) Guppy
Name (Spanish) Guppy
Local names Brazil: Barrigudinho, Gúpi, Lebistes
Mexico: Sarapintado
Trinidad and Tobago: Rainbow fish
Venezuela: Sardinita
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka



Range Native to Northern South America and part of the Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Neth. Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands, Suriname, Venezuela. Introduced to at least 51 countries
Habitat Warm springs and their effluents, weedy ditches and canals
Wild population Unknown. The Guppy has not yet been classified by the IUCN
Zoo population Considering that hardly any zoo or aquarium will undertake to establish the numbers of guppies they got, and considering that most public aquaria are not part of the WAZA system and do not register their collections with ISIS, available ISIS data are not significant.

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 51 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

Fish must be unpacked carefully and under low illumination.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Drew R. Smith

Why do zoos keep this animal

The guppy is one of the most popular aquarium fish with hobby aquarists. Many standardized varieties have been bred. It is also used in genetics research.

Zoos may keep the guppy is a nice and peaceful fish which can easily be kept in multispecies South America tanks. They are of educational interest because they are easy to breed livebearers, explicit sexual dimorphism, and intereting courting behaviour. Adult and young guppies may also serve as live food for other species.