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Also known as millionfish and rainbowfish, the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is among the world’s most widely distributed tropical fish of the family Poeciliidae. As one of the most famous freshwater aquarium fish species, guppies are used as model organisms in ecology, evolution, and behavioral studies.
See the fact file below for more information on the guppy or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Guppy worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- In 1859, German naturalist and explorer Wilhelm Peters initially described guppies in Venezuela as Poecilia. Two years later, Italian doctor Filippo de Filippi labeled them as Lebistes poecilioides.
- Later on, guppies were called Girardinus guppii by German-born British zoologist Albert Günther in honor of Robert John Lechmere Guppy, who imported some specimens of guppies from Trinidad to the Natural History Museum of London.
- In 1913, guppies were recategorized as Lebistes reticulatus by British ichthyologist Charles Regan. In 1963, Rosen and Bailey proposed to bring back its original name, Poecilia reticulata.
- Guppies are endemic to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Brazil, Guyana, Jamaica, the Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.
- However, these species were introduced to several nations worldwide except Antarctica.
- There are also cases where guppies have appeared out of nowhere, but most often as an approach of mosquito control. They most likely eat the mosquito larvae and help slow the transmission of malaria, but in most instances, these fish have had a negative effect on native fish groups.
- Field research shows that these species have settled in almost every freshwater body near them in their natural habitats, especially those in streams near the coastal fringes of mainland South America. Though guppies are not native to that region, they also have tolerance to brackish water. They also seem to have bigger populations in smaller streams and pools compared to large, deep, or fast-flowing rivers.
- Guppies show strong sexual dimorphism. Wild-type females are grey in color while male guppies display splashes, spots, or stripes that can range in different colors. Their sizes also differ, but males are usually 1.5 to 3.5 cm long, while females are 3 to 6 cm in length.
- A number of guppy variations are created by breeders through selective breeding, distinguished by distinct patterns, colors, shapes, and sizes of fins.
- Guppies exhibit 23 pairs of chromosomes, including one pair of sex chromosomes like those of humans.
- Two or three generations of guppies take place annually. They are well-adapted and independent, being able to exist without further parental care after birth. Young guppies school together and learn antipredator techniques.
- Brood size is greatly variable, yet some constant differences occur in populations but still depend on the predation level and other factors.
- Females of the same body sizes seem to develop a number of smaller-sized babies in high-predation conditions.
- They initially lay their eggs at 10 to 20 weeks of age, and continue to reproduce until 20 to 34 months. Male guppies, on the other hand, reach adulthood in 7 weeks or less.
- Guppies in the wild typically survive around two years.
- Guppies exhibit polyandry, a mating system where females mate with different males. Multiple mating is advantageous for males since their reproductive success is precisely linked to the number of times they mate. The cost of this behavior for males is very low because they do not support material benefit to females or parental care to their babies.
- On the contrary, multiple mating can be detrimental for females because it lessens foraging efficiency and increases the occurrence of predation and parasitic infection.
- Females mate again more actively and hold the development of a brood when she finds the foreseen second mate more attractive than the previous.
- Guppies have a number of predators, including larger fish and birds, in their natural habitats. They are usually preyed on in the wild by Crenicichla alta, Anablepsoides hartii, and Aequidens pulcher. The small bodies and vibrant coloration of males make them easy victims, and just like other fish species, they often swim together to prevent being eaten.
- Their coloration also develops exponentially which is mainly caused by predation. Over time, males evolve to display more dull coloration and have lesser and smaller spots under extreme predation in the wild.
- In a high-predation ecosystem, females also tend to reject brightly colored males.
- Wild guppies eat algal remains, diatoms, invertebrates, plant fragments, mineral particles, and aquatic insect larvae.
- They often find food in groups to make foraging easier.
- When they feel a potential predator nearby, some of the guppies come close to their predators to evaluate danger – a behavior called predator inspection. This approach, however beneficial to guppies since they gain information, puts them at a higher risk of being eaten. To lessen the risk, inspector guppies stay away from the predator’s mouth area – called the ‘attack cone’ – and meet the predator from the side or back. They may also establish a group for maximum protection, usually bigger in high-predation populations.
- When they sense a predator, their irises quickly darken from silver to jet black, which causes the predator to attack their head instead of their body’s center of mass.
IN THE AQUARIUM
- Guppies thrive in a hard-water aquarium with a temperature between 25.5 and 27.8 °C (78 and 82 °F), and salt levels equal to one tablespoon per 19 L.
- They are able to bear salinity levels up to 150% that of normal seawater.
- Guppies are peaceful fish species, though nipping behavior is occasionally observed between male guppies or towards other excellent swimmers and fish with prominent fins, such as the angelfish.
- Pregnant guppies, which have large and darkened gravid spots near their anal vents, prefer water temperatures around 22.2–26.1 °C (72–79 °F).
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the guppy across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Guppy worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) which is among the world’s most widely distributed tropical fish of the family Poeciliidae. As one of the most famous freshwater aquarium fish species, guppies are used as model organisms in ecology, evolution, and behavioral studies.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Guppy Facts
- Good Day Guppy
- Label a Guppy
- Fill in the Tank
- Guppy Colors
- Tail Shapes
- More on Tail Shapes
- Body Pattern
- Guppy Wiki
- As Pets
- Guppy Life Cycle
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Link will appear as Guppy Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 15, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
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