Guppies are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish. Here’s more about them…
Guppies are notable for having patterns and colors that are beautiful and unique, and you will not find two fish that are exactly the same. These fish are very easy as well as enjoyable to take care of, and are a species of fish that is fascinating to watch.
This species is related to the Pike and belongs to the Poedciliidae family. This little fish was first discovered in 1866 by Robert John Lechmere Guppy in Trinidad, and hence, was given the name Girardinus guppii later in the same year. However, Wilhelm Peters described this fish in 1859 on the basis of material gathered from South America. It is still commonly referred to as ‘guppy’, even though Girardinus guppii is considered a lesser synonym of Poecilia reticulate these days. It is called the ‘crayfish’ in Trinidad and Tobago. Although a number of taxonomic names have been given to it over time, Poecilia reticulate is regarded valid currently.
In the wild, guppies are found in Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Barbados, Guyana, Brazil, Netherlands Antilles, and the US Virgin Islands. Although this tiny freshwater fish is generally found in clear tropical waters, it can also live in brackish water.
However, apart from Antarctica, the guppy fish has been introduced to various countries in all the continents. While sometimes, this has been due to accident, usually, guppies have been used as a method for controlling mosquitoes, in the hope of them eating the larvae of the mosquitoes in an effort to slow down the spread of malaria. However, this has generally caused a negative impact on the native species of fish.
Behavior and Ecology
While the females that exist in the wild are gray in color, the males have stripes, spots, or splashes which can be black, blue, orange, or yellow. Guppies occur in great variations between each population, with many of them having distinctive patterning or coloring. Those that occur in habitats where there are predators are usually less vividly colored or patterned, in order to protect themselves. However, where there are fewer predators, they are very colorful. According to recent research, it has been found that subdued colors occur due to natural selection because of predation, while sexual selection determines the occurrence of brightly colored males. Hence, the prevalence of a particular type is dependent according to each factor in various environment.
Sometimes, male guppies display aggressive behavior towards one another, such as nipping each other’s fins and other bullying behavioral patterns. Guppies have social networks that are complex, choosing partners and being able to remember them.
It does not take any particular skill for breeding guppies, with results being produced by just leaving the female and the male together in a tank. However, it is quite a different matter to breed superior varieties of guppies with particular qualities of vigor, finnage, patterns, and colors. This requires a great deal of detailed work, such as keeping records, making sound judgments according to the results you get, as well as a certain degree of luck according to the randomness of genetics.