guppy facts

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With their colorful patterns and feathery caudal fin, guppies are a favorite of freshwater aquarium keepers.

Guppies are small tropical fish that live all over the world. They are sometimes called rainbow fish or million fish. 276 species of guppies belong to the family Guppies.

3 Unbelievable Facts About Guppies!

  • Million Fish : Guppy has aliases, including rainbow fish and million fish. Because of their brightly colored scales, they are called rainbow fish. The nickname Wanyu refers to the breeding habit of this fish. A single female guppy can give birth to 50 to 100 babies per month!
  • Fights malaria : Guppies are small tropical fish that play an important role in the fight against malaria. Mosquitoes are known carriers of the disease. To reduce mosquito populations, these fish are released into waters in Asia and elsewhere to eat mosquito larvae.
  • Birth Announcement : While most fish reproduce by laying eggs, guppies do things another way. The eggs hatch inside the female guppies. Females conceive for about a month and then give birth to dozens of babies live.
Guppy infographic


taxonomic name

Poecilia reticulata is the scientific name for these fish. Poecilia is a Greek word meaning speckled, and reticulata is Latin for reticulated pattern. These wild fish are also known as rainbow fish and ten thousand fish.

They belong to the family Poeciliidae, which belongs to the class Actinopterygii.

There are 276 species of guppies. Here are some examples:

  • guppies
  • swamp guppies
  • cobra guppy
  • Glass Guppies
  • Leopard Guppy

Origin and History

In 1866, geologist Robert John Lechmere Guppy brought a small fish from a stream in Trinidad to London where it was named Giradinus Guppyi in honor of Mr. Guppy.

The guppy is generally credited as the discoverer of the wild guppy, although a Spaniard named De Filippi accidentally discovered the species in Barbados in 1862, classified it as a new genus and species, and named it For Lebistes poetes.

Before De Filippi, a German biologist named Julius Gollmer had discovered guppies in 1857 and 1858 in Rio Guayre, near Caracas, Venezuela. He sent the preserved fish to the Prussian Imperial Academy of Sciences in Berlin. However, they were not very enthusiastic about them, only giving Gormer a small amount of payment and nominal recognition. Due to a filing error, the specimen was placed in storage.

The first scientific description of the contents of a jar was made by Wilhelm Karl Hartwig Peters in 1859. Sadly, the jars were not properly labeled or stored, so only the female specimen is believed to be a new species called Poecilia reticulata.

After 1866, the male specimen sent to Berlin by Julius Gollmer was recovered and officially named Giradinus Guppyi. The female, formerly known as Poecilia, had the same name as the male, a tradition of the period. Many collectors have sent guppies to museums and have assigned them at least 11 different scientific names. It turned out these were just different strains, not new species.

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The scientific name of the guppy has undergone many revisions over the past 100 years, and it was finally named guppy (Poecilia reticulata). However, you may still see guppies with the scientific name Lebistes reticulata in some scientific publications.

Guppies isolated on white background



Guppies are classified in a number of ways, including scale color, scale pattern, and even tail shape. The three most well-known types include:

  • Fancy Guppies : These are known for their particularly bright colors and delicate caudal fins. They can have fantails, triangle fins, and veil fins, just to name a few.
  • Endler Guppies : These fish are less colorful than fancy guppies and have a simple rounded or spade-shaped caudal fin. Someone looking to add some color to their aquarium may choose fancy over Enderler guppies.
  • Swamp Guppies : This type is rarer than both groups above. They live in streams around Trinidad and prefer habitats with brackish water.

© Jdiemer/Creative Commons


Guppies can be yellow, red, blue, green, black, white or orange, depending on their species. For example, the blue cobra guppy has a dark blue body with a pattern of vertical black stripes that looks like the back of a cobra. It has a bright blue triangular tail fin with a mix of yellow and black patterns. Alternatively, red guppies have scales that mix bright red and gold. Its fan-shaped tail is bright red with light gold tips. From leopard guppies to cobra guppies to Dumbo guppies, entire groups have unique colors and scale patterns.

These fish also have many different tail fin shapes. Fantails, flagtails, lyre tails, swordtails, roundtails, and veiltails are a few examples. The longest guppy is 2.4 inches.

The bright colors of guppies make them clear targets for many predators. However, they do have unique defensive features. The fish's irises turn from silver to black when a predator approaches. This allows the fish to quickly escape dangerous paths while the predator focuses on what it thinks is the head of the fish.

Additionally, wild guppies swim in schools, sometimes hundreds of fish. This means that if a predator attacks, most fish in the school have a good chance of escaping.

Multicolored Guppy, Poecilia reticulata, natural background

© panpilai paipa/

Distribution, Population and Habitat

Brazil, Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados, Venezuela, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are just a few places where guppies are found in the wild. In fact, they can now be found all over the world except Antarctica. They are able to live in fresh or brackish water. Their habitat includes streams and shallow pools near larger bodies of water.

The exact number of this tropical fish is unknown. However, the conservation status of the fish is of least concern. These wild fish reproduce in large numbers, helping their numbers to remain stable.

Bluegrass guppies isolated on black

©Nantawat Chotsuwan/

predator and prey

Most of these fish grow to around an inch, so it's no surprise that they have plenty of predators. Wild guppies swim in schools of hundreds or thousands, so predators can catch several fish at a time.

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What do guppies eat?

Larger fish, such as blue tuna and pike, are natural predators of guppies. Seabirds such as kingfishers are natural predators of this small tropical fish.

What do guppies eat?

These fish are omnivorous. They eat algae, plant particles and mosquito larvae.

They live on large campuses and engage in foraging behavior. This means they forage for food in these large groups. Therefore, when an algae supply is found, more algae are able to share the nutrients.

The official conservation status of these fish is worry-free.

Guppy Male Moscow
Guppy Male Moscow

© Marrabbio2 | CC BY-SA – License

Reproduction and Lifespan

These fish breed year-round. A female mates with multiple males. She is pregnant with a fertilized egg for about a month. They differ from many other types of fish in that they give birth to offspring alive. A single female can give birth to 50 to 100 pups, also called fry. Due to this reproductive activity, females can produce 2 to 3 generations of fry per year. Fry lived independently from birth.

Males reach sexual maturity at 7 weeks of age, while females reach sexual maturity at 10 to 20 weeks of age. Typically, these fish live to be two years old.

These fish are carriers of many parasites, which is another factor affecting their longevity. Gyrodactylus turnbulli is one of the most common parasites that inhabit the gills and fins of guppies. They spread these parasites to other guppies, and even other fish.

Beautiful yellow king cobra ribbon guppies on isolated black background.

©Arunee Rodloy/

fishing and cooking

These are very small fish, no longer than 2.4 inches in length. Therefore, they are not targeted by commercial fisheries.

Some recreational fishers may try to catch rare specimens with small nets to sell to guppies enthusiasts or pet stores.

Guppies cannot be eaten cooked due to their large size.

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about the author

heather hall

I'm a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by nature. When I do my daily runs, I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I have two dogs that take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

Guppy FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a Guppy?

The scientific name of the guppy is Poecilia reticulata. Guppies are small tropical fish known for their feathery tail fin and colorful scales. In fact, they are favorites among aquarium keepers due to their beautiful colors and fins.

Where can I find guppies?

Guppies are found all over the world except Antarctica. Brazil, Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados, Venezuela and the U.S. Virgin Islands are all places where guppies can be found in the wild. They can live in fresh water as well as brackish water.

Where Do Guppies Come From?

Guppies are native to the warm tropical waters around South America.

How to tell if a guppy is pregnant?

Pregnant guppies are not to be missed! A large bump grew out of her underside. Additionally, a black spot appeared near her caudal fin. This place is known as the "gestation point". This spot forms as the female's body is stretched in preparation for a live birth.

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What do guppies eat?

Guppies eat algae, plant particles and mosquito larvae.

Do guppies die easily?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. While these fish typically live up to two years, there are many factors that can lead to their death. For one thing, if their own waste isn't filtered out of the water, they die. They also die when the water in their habitat is too cold or too hot. High levels of ammonia in the water can also kill guppies.

So, if you want to have several guppies as pets, it is important to establish and maintain a proper aquarium habitat to keep them happy and healthy!

To which kingdom do guppies belong?

Guppies belong to the animal kingdom.

What phylum do guppies belong to?

Guppies belong to the phylum Chordate.

What category do guppies belong to?

Guppies belong to the Actinopterygii class.

What family do guppies belong to?

Guppies belong to the family Guppies.

What order do guppies belong to?

Guppies belong to the order Cyprinodontiformes.

What genus do guppies belong to?

Guppies belong to the genus Guppies.

What type of mulch do guppies have?

Guppies are covered with scales.

Who are the natural enemies of guppies?

Predators of guppies include birds and larger fish.

What are the distinctive features of guppies?

Guppies have brightly colored bodies and fins and can give birth to live young.

What is the average clutch size for a Guppies?

Guppies typically lay 80 eggs.

What are some interesting facts about guppies?

Guppies are also known as million fish!

What is the scientific name of guppies?

The scientific name of the guppy is Poecilia reticulata.

What is the lifespan of a guppy?

Guppies can live up to 2 years.

How many guppies are there?

There are 276 species of guppies.

What is the biggest threat to guppies?

The biggest threat to guppies is water pollution.

What is the optimal pH for guppies?

The optimum pH for guppies is between 5.0 and 7.0.

What is another name for guppies?

Guppies are also known as rainbow fish or million fish.

How are male guppies different from female guppies?

Male and female guppies are distinguished by their size, shape, color, tail length, dorsal fin shape, anal fin shape, and the presence or absence of gravid spots.

What are the main differences between Endlers and Guppies?

The key differences between Endlers and Guppies include size, body shape, color, breeding, locality, and gestation point.

What are the main differences between mosquito fish and guppies?

The key differences between mosquitofish and guppies are origin, tail, size, reproduction, appearance and lifespan.

What is the difference between guppies and bettas?

The key differences between bettas and guppies include size, reproduction, breathing, behavior, origin, and appearance.

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