Poecilia reticulata (guppy)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Water Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Poecilia reticulata Peters, 1859
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- 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)
International Common Names
- English: barbados millions; guppies; million fish; millions; millions fish; rainbow fish
- French: guppy; poisson million; queue de voile
Local Common Names
- Albania: lareza tripikaloshe
- Brazil: barrigudinho-mexicano; gúpi; lebistes; mexicano; sarapintado
- China/Hong Kong: hung dzoek ue
- Czech Republic: zivorodka duhová
- Germany: Guppy; Millionenfisch; Wilder Riesenguppy
- Indonesia: ikan seribu
- Japan: guppii
- Netherlands: gup
- Poland: cytrynówka; gupik pawie
- Slovakia: zivorodka dúhová (gupka)
- South Africa: guppie; miljoenvis
- Sri Lanka: guppy
- Sweden: guppy
- Trinidad and Tobago: red fin; seven colours
- Turkey: lepistes
- Vietnam: cá bay màu
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
P. reticulata is a prolific livebearing fish species, producing between 20 and 40 young after a gestation period of four to six weeks, and is able to tolerate a wide range of aquatic environments and conditions. It is native to parts of the Caribbean and northern South America, but it has been widely introduced throughout temperate and tropical regions originally for mosquito control, later as a popular species in the commercial aquarium trade. Further accidental introductions via release of unwanted pets and escape from aquaculture facilities are likely, and eradication of established populations is extremely difficult without broad scale damage to the aquatic environment and biota.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Cyprinodontiformes
- Family: Poeciliidae
- Genus: Poecilia
- Species: Poecilia reticulata
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
DescriptionTop of page
P. reticulata belongs to the poeciliids, a group of small freshwater fishes with internal fertilisation and viviparous reproduction. P. reticulata has clear sexual dimorphism. Males are 25-35 mm (SL) and have conspicuous polymorphic colour patterns consisting of combinations of black, white, red-orange, yellow, green, iridescent spots, lines and speckles. Males have a gonopdium; a slender, modified anal fin used as an intromittent organ, whereas the anal fin of females is rounded. Females are uniform silver grey, and are larger and deeper bodied than males (40-60 mm SL). Juvenile fish resemble females, and are independent from birth.
DistributionTop of page
P. reticulata is native to Trinidad and Tobago and parts of South America including Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam (Farr, 1975). It also occurs in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Brazil, Guyana, Netherlands Antilles, and the US Virgin Islands (Kenny, 1995), and it has been found in Barbados, Cuba and Grenada (Magurran, 2005), but it is not certain whether the species naturally colonised these regions or was introduced.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Bahrain||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Bangladesh||Present||Introduced||Barua et al., 2001; Islam et al., 2003|
|China||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Hong Kong||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Man and Hodgkiss, 1981|
|East Timor||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Indonesia||Present||Introduced||Eidman, 1989; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Japan||Present||Introduced||Masuda et al., 1984; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|-Honshu||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||Masuda et al., 1984||Occurs in the Ryuku Islands and hot springs in Honshu and Kyushu|
|-Kyushu||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||Masuda et al., 1984|
|-Ryukyu Archipelago||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||Masuda et al., 1984|
|Laos||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Kottelat, 2001; Froese and Pauly, 2007||Non-sustainable population, requires restocking as a mosquito control agent|
|Malaysia||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|-Peninsular Malaysia||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Ang and Gopinath, 1989|
|-Sabah||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Ang and Gopinath, 1989|
|-Sarawak||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Ang and Gopinath, 1989|
|Myanmar||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Philippines||Present||Introduced||Juliano et al., 1989; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Singapore||Widespread||Introduced||Chou and Lam, 1989; Ng et al., 1993|
|Sri Lanka||Widespread||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988|
|Taiwan||Present||Introduced||Shao and Lim, 1991; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Thailand||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007; Nico et al., 2007|
|Vietnam||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Ghana||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Kenya||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Madagascar||Present||Introduced||Stiassny and Raminosoa, 1994|
|Mauritius||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Fricke, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Mayotte||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Namibia||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||FAO, 1997; Hay et al., 1999|
|Nigeria||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988|
|Réunion||Present||Introduced||Keith et al., 2006|
|Senegal||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|South Africa||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Tanzania||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Uganda||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Zambia||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||Audenaerde Tden, 1994||Kitwe and Kafue Swamp|
|Canada||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|-Alberta||Absent, formerly present||Introduced||Not invasive||Crossman, 1984|
|Mexico||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|USA||Present||Introduced||Rixon et al., 2005; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|-Hawaii||Present||Introduced||Maciolek, 1984; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
Central America and Caribbean
|Antigua and Barbuda||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Barbados||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Costa Rica||Present||Introduced||Bussing, 1998; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Cuba||Present||Introduced||Burgess and Franz, 1989; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Grenada||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Jamaica||Present||Introduced||FAO, 1997; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Martinique||Present||Introduced||Lim et al., 2002|
|Netherlands Antilles||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Puerto Rico||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Saint Lucia||Present||Native||ISSG, 2012|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|United States Virgin Islands||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Brazil||Present||Native||Invasive||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|French Guiana||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Guyana||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Paraguay||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Suriname||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Venezuela||Present||Native||Not invasive||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Czech Republic||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Holcík, 1991|
|Hungary||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Holcík, 1991|
|Ireland||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Italy||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Holcík, 1991|
|Russian Federation||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|-Central Russia||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||Reshetnikov et al., 1997; Bogutskaya and Naseka, 2002|
|-Southern Russia||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||Reshetnikov et al., 1997; Bogutskaya and Naseka, 2002|
|-Western Siberia||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||Reshetnikov et al., 1997; Bogutskaya and Naseka, 2002|
|Slovakia||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||Welcomme, 1988|
|UK||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Welcomme, 1988|
|Australia||Present||Introduced||McKay, 1989; Arthington and McKenzie, 1997; Lindholm et al., 2005|
|Cook Islands||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|French Polynesia||Present||Introduced||Marquet, 1993|
|Guam||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|New Caledonia||Present||Introduced||Eldredge, 1994; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|New Zealand||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||McDowall, 1999||Restricted to thermal waters of Waikato River|
|Papua New Guinea||Present||Introduced||Allen, 1991; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Samoa||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
P. reticulata has been widely introduced throughout temperate and tropical regions since the early 1900s (Welcomme, 1992). Initial introductions of P. reticulata were conducted as a means of mosquito control in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, and Europe; the first documented introduction being to Hawaii in 1905 (Juliano et al., 1989). However, P. reticulata has had mixed success in controlling mosquito populations. In some areas it is regarded as beneficial as a control agent (Juliano et al., 1989), but in other areas it is reported to have had minimal effects on mosquito populations (Castleberry and Cech, 1990). P. reticulata is also a popular ornamental aquarium fish, with a wide variety of strains differing in colour and fin shape cultivated in the aquarium fish trade (Axelrod et al., 1985). It is likely that P. reticulata has been introduced into many countries via accidental or intentional release of aquarium fish into waterways and many introduced populations have become established. P. reticulata is now widely established throughout temperate and tropical freshwater systems worldwide, Fishbase (www.fishbase.org) currently listing 55 introductions, although most of these records are undated.
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Albania||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Crivelli (1995)|
|Australia||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Arthington and McKenzie (1997)|
|Bangladesh||Thailand||1957||Biological control (pathway cause)||No||No||Barua et al. (2001); Islam et al. (2003)|
|Canada||1960-1969||Biological control (pathway cause)||No||No||Crossman (1984)|
|Colombia||1940||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No|
|Colombia||Central America||1940||No||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Cook Islands||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Costa Rica||Venezuela||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Bussing (1998)|
|Cuba||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Burgess and Franz (1989)|
|Czech Republic||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Holcík (1991); Welcomme (1988)|
|Fiji||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Andrews (1985)|
|French Polynesia||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Marquet (1993)|
|French Polynesia||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No|
|Guam||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Hawaii||1922||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Maciolek (1984)|
|Hong Kong||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Man and Hodgkiss (1981)|
|Hungary||Germany||1924||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Holcík (1991)|
|India||South America||1908||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||FAO (1997)|
|Indonesia||1920||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Eidman (1989)|
|Italy||Biological control (pathway cause)||No||No||Holcík (1991)|
|Jamaica||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||FAO (1997)|
|Japan||South America||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Masuda et al. (1984)||Occurs in the Ryukyu Islands and hot springs in Honshu and Kyushu|
|Laos||Biological control (pathway cause)||No||No||Kottelat (2001); Kottelat (2001b)||Non-sustainable population, required restoking as mosquito control agent|
|Madagascar||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Stiassny and Raminosoa (1994)|
|Malaysia||Brazil||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Ang and Gopinath (1989)|
|Malaysia||Venezuela||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Ang and Gopinath (1989)|
|Martinique||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Lim et al. (2002)|
|Mauritius||Biological control (pathway cause)||No||No||Fricke (1999)|
|Mexico||1971||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Namibia||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||FAO (1997)|
|Netherlands||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|New Caledonia||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Eldredge (1994)|
|New Zealand||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||McDowall (1999)|
|Nigeria||UK||1972||Biological control (pathway cause)||No||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Palau||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Papua New Guinea||1967||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Allen (1991)|
|Peru||Central America||1940||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Philippines||Hawaii||1905||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Juliano et al. (1989)|
|Puerto Rico||Central America||1935||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Russian Federation||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Bogutskaya and Naseka (2002)|
|Samoa||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Singapore||Malaysia||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Ng et al. (1993)|
|Singapore||South America||1937||Biological control (pathway cause)||No||No||Chou and Lam (1989)|
|Slovakia||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|South Africa||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No|
|Sri Lanka||1930-1939||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|Taiwan||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Shao and Lim (1991)|
|Thailand||Yes||No||Nico et al. (2007)|
|Uganda||USA||1950||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|UK||1963||Biological control (pathway cause)||No||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|USA||1922||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Rixon et al. (2005)|
|Vanuatu||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Eldredge (1994)|
|Venezuela||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Keith et al. (2006)|
|Zambia||Biological control (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Audenaerde Tden (1994)||Streams around Kitwe|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
While intentional introductions of P. reticulata for the purposes of mosquito control have not occurred since the 1950s, P. reticulata is increasingly widely cultivated and distributed in the ornamental aquarium trade, and as such, future unintentional releases are likely. The ability of P. reticulata to inhabit a wide range of water conditions, including polluted water bodies (Juliano et al., 1989) increases the risk of introduced specimens becoming established. Despite documented negative impacts on native species, P. reticulata remains an allowable commercial import in many countries, further increasing the risk of establishment. The prodigious reproductive rate of P. reticulata can lead to rapid expansion of small founder populations (population doubling time less than 15 months), which may then expand into surrounding areas.
HabitatTop of page
Within its natural range, P. reticulata occurs in a wide range of habitats, from clear mountain streams to turbid slow moving water bodies at low elevations, commonly without significant aquatic vegetation (Juliano et al., 1989). Guppies are commonly confined to the shallow edges of pools and streams, with few individuals in the deeper areas of streams. P. reticulata can tolerate a wide range of temperatures (18-28°C) and salinities, including up to 150% normal seawater (Chervinski, 1984), however they are generally found in freshwater streams near the coast. In non-native areas, guppies are commonly found as the only species in heavily polluted water bodies (Barua et al., 2001).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Irrigation channels||Secondary/tolerated habitat|
|Rivers / streams||Principal habitat|
Biology and EcologyTop of page Genetics
P. reticulata has a karyotype of 23 haploid (gametic) chromosomes and 46 diploid (zygotic) chromosomes (n = 23, 2n = 46), and an XY sex determination system, in which males are the heterozygotic sex (Angus, 1989). Regions of the X and Y chromosomes are able to recombine, indicating that the Y chromosome is less specialised than mammalian Y chromosomes and retains essential genes other than those determining sex, as also indicated by the viability of YY males (Winge and Ditlevsen, 1938; Haskins et al., 1970). Genes controlling male colour patterns are found both on gonosomes and autosomes, and are expressed only in the presence of androgenic hormones. Kirpichnikov (1981) described 17 pigmentation traits showing holandric (Y-linked) inheritance patterns, while 16 traits may be on either the X or Y chromosome and 5 autosomally inherited traits, of which one is sex-limited. While colour patterns are usually only expressed in males, characters coded by genes on autosomal or X chromosomes may be expressed by mature females after reproductive senescence (Kirpichnikov, 1981), or through administration of male hormones (Haskins et al., 1970). Y-linked traits are generally controlled by a single locus with multiple allelic variants, are typically dominant, and show additive effects when more than one trait gene is present. Inbreeding depression has been shown to reduce tolerance to temperature and salinity extremes as well as general survival (Nakadate et al., 2003). The differences between line bred aquarium strains and wild populations of P. reticulata (for example, line bred strains are larger and have more elaborate colour patterns), are likely to result in a difference between wild populations and feral populations drawn from aquarium stock. However, the retention of artificially selected traits under natural selection regimes is unlikely, and long standing feral populations may more closely resemble natural populations than do recently introduced/released populations. Feral populations of P. reticulata in Queensland, Australia, have reduced mtDNA haplotype and microsatellite diversity, suggesting a genetic bottleneck sometime in the recent history of these populations, as expected from a small founder population (Lindholm et al., 2005).Reproductive Biology
In all poeciliids, fertilization is internal, with the male’s spermatozeugmata introduced into the female’s reproductive tract using the gonopodium. P. reticulata females can store the sperm from a single insemination to fertilise ova for up to 8 months. Once fertilised, eggs are retained within the female’s reproductive tract where embryos are nourished by the yolk deposited in the eggs prior to fertilisation. After parturition, fry are immediately able to feed and no further parental care is provided. Indeed, parents have been observed preying on their own offspring in aquaria (Whitern, 1980). The size of a litter ranges from one to more than 100 offspring, and is highly dependent on the size of the female (Reznick and Endler, 1982; Travis, 1989). Within the natural range of P. reticulata, there are consistent differences in the numbers of fry between predation regimes; females from high-predation areas produce more, smaller offspring than females from low-predation areas (Magurran, 2005). Where P. reticulata co-occurs with the predatory cichlid Crenicichla alta, the expected litter size of an average sized female is 6.4, whereas the expected litter size where C. alta does not occur is 2.8 (Reznick and Endler, 1982). Domesticated strains of P. reticulata, bred for larger body size than wild fish, consistently produce broods far greater than these values, commonly of a few dozen or more. P. reticulata males and females mature at 10-20 weeks, and females produce 2-3 generations per year. Predation risk also influences size at maturity; fish from high predation areas mature at 11 mm SL (females) and 9 mm SL (males) (Alkins-Koo, 2000), whereas females from low predation areas mature between 15 and 18 mm SL and males between 15 and 16 mm SL (Reznick and Endler, 1982). Females continue to reproduce to 20-34 months old, and there is no significant period of reproductive senescence. Females are sexually responsive as virgins, and for three to four days after parturition, but at other times avoid mating attempts by males. Male courtship behaviour in this species is intense, and males that court at a higher rate are preferred by females, but may also subject to greater predation risk (Endler, 1987). If females are unresponsive to courtship, males may also perform sneak matings, or gonopodial thrusting, in an attempt to forcefully inseminate females. This mode of reproduction is generally unsuccessful, however, and females may eject male sperm before fertilisation occurs. The sex ratio at birth is even, although adult sex ratios may favour females, indicating that mortality of males is higher.Nutrition
P. reticulata is omnivorous; feeding on algae (approximately 50% of the wild diet), invertebrate larvae and benthic detritus (Dussault and Kramer, 1981). Within their natural range they may also prey on larvae of their own species and of Rivulus hartii (Houde, 1997). Experimental captive trials have found that the closely related Gambusia holbrooki preys on a wide range of larvae of other fish species from areas into which P. reticulata has also been introduced (Howe et al., 1997), suggesting that P. reticulata may also prey on these species.Associations
Within its natural range, P. reticulata is found in association with the predators Crenicichla alta and Rivulus hartii, as well as species from families including Erythrinidae, Callichthyidae, Gobbiidae, Anastomidae, Characidae, Lebiasinidae, Gymnotidae, Poecilidae, Cichlidae and Loricidae (Kenny, 1995). In non-native areas, P. reticulata is associated with other small freshwater fishes, and may out-compete these for resources and territory, causing a reduction in their numbers.Environmental Requirements
P. reticulata can live and breed in pH of 5-9 and salinities ranging from 0 to 45 ppt. However, P. reticulata cannot tolerate water temperatures below 15°C, and is only found in temperate regions in artificially warmed water bodies, for example at cooling lakes of power stations. Critical thermal maxima ranging of 39-41°C and death points of 41-43°C were reported by Chung (2004) for Venezuelan guppies.
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||0||5||Optimum||0-45 tolerated (Chervinski, 1984)|
|Water pH (pH)||7||Optimum||5-9 tolerated (Chervinski, 1984)|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||24||29||Optimum||18-37 tolerated (Chervinski, 1984), other reports suggest species cannot tolerate below 15 or above 39|
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Crenicichla alta||Predator||Adult||not specific|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Fish predators known to naturally co-occur and prey on adult P. reticulata include the catfish, Hoplias malabaricus and the cichlids Aequidens bimaculatus, A. pulcher, and Crenicichla alta (Haskins and Haskins, 1961). Other predators of P. reticulata include Rivulus hartii, which preys predominately on juvenile P. reticulata (Magurran, 2005), and Eleotris pisonis and Gobiomoris dormitor (Reznick and Bryga, 1996). Other natural enemies of P. reticulata include bird predators such as kingfishers (e.g. Chloroceryle americana; herons (e.g. Bulbucus ibis) and flycatchers (e.g. Pitangus sulphuratus; Chadee et al., 1991), as well as mammalian predators including bats and invertebrate predators such as Machrobranchium spp.prawns (Endler, 1991).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
Once introduced into a new area, P. reticulata is able to disperse through waterways by swimming. However, geographical features such as waterfalls and rapids may restrict or prohibit the movement of guppies upstream. This is known to be the case in Trinidad, where P. reticulata does not naturally occur is some upstream areas of the streams it inhabits due to physical barriers such as waterfalls. As P. reticulata can tolerate brackish water, it may also move upstream via estuaries.
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
Among some management agencies, there is concern that P. reticulata held in aquaculture facilities may be relocated by predatory birds. Steps to minimise this form of introduction are encouraged by bodies such as the Queensland Department of Primary Industry, Australia.
Numerous introductions have been attributed to the release of aquarium fish into local waterways by hobbyists (Allen et al., 2002). Escape from aquaculture facilities is also possible through flooding events and biotic transmission by predators. Wellcome (1988) lists accidental release of aquarium fish from rearing installations as a likely cause of numerous introductions of small exotic ornamental fishes into non-native areas. While it is difficult to precisely determine the origin of feral stocks of P. reticulata, accidental release from both private hobbyists and rearing facilities is the most likely cause of contemporary introductions.
P. reticulata has been widely introduced by government bodies as a mosquito control agent throughout Africa, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas. In the 1920s, introductions of Poeciliids comprised 22% of major species groups introduced into non-native regions worldwide, and 48% of non-recorded introductions in the period 1800-1980 (Welcomme, 1988). P. reticulata is now present in at least 55 countries.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Pets and aquarium species||Common import into developed countries as ornamental fish.||Yes|
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
Given the tendency for P. reticulata to prey on the larvae of many freshwater species, this species may also prey on the larvae of species with economic value.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
P. reticulata has a negligible influence on habitats. It feeds predominately on algae and detritus, but does not disrupt the benthic layer.
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
The presence of P. reticulata has been associated with declines in native fish species in a number of cases. In the south-western USA, in Nevada, Texas and Arizona, P. reticulata has caused a decline in the populations of the cypriodont Crenichthys baileyi (Rixon et al., 2005), and has been associated with a reduction in abundance of the Utah sucker Catostomus ardens (Courtenay et al., 1974). In Hong Kong, China the native minnow Aphyocypris lini may be threatened by P. reticulata, and native fishes of other countries are likely affected due to its prolific breeding habits (Allen, 1991). In Australia, no direct studies on the interaction between P. reticulata and native fishes have been conducted, but studies on the related poeciliid, Gambusia holbrooki, have shown that where it is abundant, native species are rare (Arthington, 1989). P. reticulata may also impact invertebrate communities where it is introduced, and occurs in mutually exclusive distributions with native damselflies in Oahu, Hawaii, suggesting that predation by P. reticulata excludes damselfly populations (Englund, 1999). Harassment of heterospecifics females by P. reticulata males has been demonstrated in studies by Valero et al. (2008) in laboratory trials, and may constitute a further impact on biodiversity by interfering with reproduction of native species. P. reticulata may also pose a threat to biodiversity because it is a known carrier of trematode parasites (Leberg and Vrijenhoek, 1994).
P. reticulata has also had a variable impact on local mosquito populations - see History of Introduction and Spread, and Uses.
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Crenichthys nevadae (Railroad Valley springfish)||VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened species||Nevada||Competition (unspecified)||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1997|
|Erinna newcombi (Newcomb's snail)||VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened species||Hawaii||Predation||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2006|
|Megalagrion xanthomelas (orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly)||VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Predation||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014|
Social ImpactTop of page
The presence of P. reticulata and other poeciliid species may reduce the local abundance of native fish species, potentially interfering with activities of enthusiast groups.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Is a habitat generalist
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
- Highly mobile locally
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Reproduces asexually
- Has high genetic variability
- Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page Economic Value
P. reticulata has considerable economic value as an ornamental aquarium species, and is widely cultured in commercial fish hatcheries. A number of highly ornamented aquarium strains have been developed, and are extremely popular in the retail aquarium trade, being carried by up to 95% of pet shops in one region of Canada. Major producers include Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.
P. reticulata is one of the most popular aquarium fishes, and has been in the ornamental fish hobby since the early 1900s. It has high recreational and aesthetic value in captivity, but has little or no social benefit in its feral state and is not suitable for recreational fishing.Environmental Services
Uses ListTop of page
- Biological control
- Laboratory use
- Pet/aquarium trade
- Research model
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
While juvenile and female P. reticulata appear similar to many other poeciliid species, particularly Gambusia holbrooki, male P. reticulata are easily distinguished by their elaborate colour patterns. The domestic aquarium strain of P. reticulata may differ markedly from the wild form, the former having been line bred for various ornamentation and colour traits. Domesticated females may express colour and patterns normally only present in males, especially in the caudal region, whereas wild caught females are uniform silver/grey.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
While further intentional introductions by government bodies are unlikely, accidental and illegal releases of fish by aquarists are likely to continue. In order to prevent such releases, improved public awareness programs are essential. Of particular concern in preventing and controlling the introduction of pest fish species is that, in contrast with terrestrial pest species, freshwater fish such as P. reticulata commonly infest waterways in the public domain. There is thus far less incentive for private landholders to control populations of invasive freshwater fish species and prevent their further introduction. Prevention strategies must therefore be carried out by both government and public groups, and empower individuals to contribute to solutions at the regional level.
Eradication of established populations is difficult and may only be successful in small enclosed pools. In large or flowing water bodies such as rivers, streams, and lakes, complete eradication is practically impossible using current technology.Containment/Zoning
Due to their small size and ability to move freely through water bodies by swimming, containment of P. reticulata within a particular section of a river or stream is difficult. Transmission between water bodies can be prevented by eliminating human-assisted movement of fish through accidental or intentional release.
Biological control through introduction of larger predatory species is possible in small, contained water bodies, but this opens the possibility of introducing further problem species. One measure taken by enthusiast groups to eradicate Gambusia holbrooki (a poeciliid species with broadly similar biology to P. reticulata) has been to introduce tropical predatory fish such as Mouth Almighty in the summer months, which then die off during the winter and leave the water body devoid of the invasive species.
Control by utilization
While collection of wild and feral stock for the aquarium trade may occur, it is unlikely to occur at any level that would control or reduce established populations of P. reticulata.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
P. reticulata is one of the most well-studied fish species, but there is a lack of information on the impacts and interactions of P. reticulata on native species. Commonly, studies show a correlation between the reduction in abundance of native species and the presence of P. reticulata without providing information as to the mode of interference or competition between native species and P. reticulata, and as such, this area warrants further attention.
ReferencesTop of page
Ang K, Gopinath RC, 1989. The status of introduced fish species in Malaysia. In: Exotic aquatic organisms in Asia. Proceedings of the Workshop on Introduction of Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia. Asian Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ [ed. by Silva SDe] Manila, Philippines: Asian Fisheries Society, 71-82.
Angus RA, 1989. A genetic overview of Poeciliid fishes. In: Ecology and Evolution of Livebearing Fishes (Poeciliidae) [ed. by Meffe GK, Snelson FFJ] Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall, 51-68.
Arthington AH, 1989. Impacts of introduced and translocated freshwater fishes in Australia. In: Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia. Proccedings of the Workshop on Introduction of Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia. Asia Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ [ed. by Silva SDe] Manila, Philippines: Asian Fisheries Society, 7-20.
Barua SP, Khan MMH, Reza AHMA, 2001. The status of alien invasive species in Bangladesh and their impact on the ecosystems. In: Report of workshop on Alien Invasive Species, Global Biodiversity Forum-South and Southeast Asia Session, Colombo. IUCN Regional Biodiversity Programme, Asia, Colombo, Sri Lanka. October 1999 [ed. by Balakrishna P] Gland, Switzerland: IUCN-The World Conservation Union, 1-7. http://www.biodiversityasia.org/alien.htm
Castleberry DT, Cech JJ Jr, 1990. Mosquito control in wastewater: a controlled and quantitative comparison of pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis amargosae), mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) and guppies (Poecilia reticulata) in sago pondweed marshes. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 6(2):223-228.
Chou L, Lam T, 1989. Introduction of exotic aquatic species in Singapore. In: Exotic aquatic organisms in Asia. Proceedings of the Workshop on Introduction of Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia. Spec. Publ. Asian Fish. Soc. 3:91-97 [ed. by Silva SDe] Manila, Philippines: Asian Fisheries Society, 91-97.
Contreras-MacBeath T, Mojica H, Wilson R, 1998. Negative impact on the aquatic ecosystems of the state of Morelos, Mexico from introduced aquarium and other commercial fish. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation, 2:67-78.
Crossman EJ, 1984. Introduction of exotic fishes into Canada. In: Distribution, Biology and Management of Exotic Fishes [ed. by Courtenay Jr W, Stauffer Jr J] Baltimore, USA: John Hopkins University Press, 78-101.
Eidman H, 1989. Exotic aquatic species introduction into Indonesia. In: Exotic aquatic organisms in Asia. Proceedings of the Workshop on Introduction of Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia. Asian Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ., 3:57-62. Manila, Philippines [ed. by Silva De] Manila, Philippines: Asian Fisheries Society, 57-62.
Eldredge L, 1994. Freshwater fishes. In Perspectives in aquatic exotic species management in the Pacific Islands. In: Introductions of commercially significant aquatic organisms to the Pacific Islands [ed. by Eldredge L] New Caledonia: South Pacific Commission, 73-84.
Froese R, Pauly D, 2004. FishBase DVD. Penang, Malaysia: Worldfish Center. Online at www.fishbase.org.
Howe E, Howe C, Lim R, Burchett M, 1997. Impact of the introduced poeciliid Gambusia holbrooki (Girard, 1859) on the growth and reproduction of Pseudomugil signifer (Kner, 1865) in Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 48(5):425-433.
Islam MM, Amin ASMR, Sarker SK, 2003. Bangladesh. In: PallewattaN, Reaser J, Gutierrez A, eds., Invasive Alien Species in South-Southeast Asia: National Reports & Directory of Resources. Cape Town, South Africa: Global Invasive Species Programme, 7-20.
ISSG, 2012. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. http://www.issg.org/database
Juliano R, Guerrero IIIR, Ronquillo I, 1989. The introduction of exotic aquatic species in the Philippines. In: Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia. Proceedings of the Workshop on Introduction of Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia. Asian Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ [ed. by Silva SDe] Manila, Philippines: Asian Fisheries Society, 154.
Keith P, Marquet G, Valade P, Bosc P, Vigneux E, 2006. Atlas des poissons et des crustacés d'eau douce des Comores, Mascareignes et Seychelles. Patrimoines naturels. Paris, France: Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, 250 p.
Lindholm AK, Breden F, Alexander HJ, Chan WK, Thakurta SG, Brooks R, 2005. Invasion success and genetic diversity of introduced populations of guppies Poecilia reticulata in Australia. Molecular Ecology, 14:3671-3682.
Maciolek JA, 1984. Exotic fishes in Hawaii and other islands of Oceania. In: Distribution, Biology and Management of Exotic Fishes [ed. by Courtenay Jr W, Stauffer Jr J] Baltimore, USA: John Hopkins University Press, 131-161.
McKay R, 1989. Exotic and translocated freshwater fishes in Australia. In: Exotic aquatic organisms in Asia. Proceedings of the Workshop on Introduction of Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia. Asian Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ [ed. by Silva SDe] Manila, Philippines: Asian Fisheries Society, 21-34.
Meffe G, Snelson FFJ, 1989. An ecological overview of Poeciliid fishes. In: Ecology and Evolution of Livebearing Fishes (Poeciliidae) [ed. by Meffe G, Snelson FFJ] Engelwood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall, 13-31.
Moor IJde, Bruton M, 1988. Atlas of alien and translocated indigenous aquatic animals in southern Africa. A report of the Committee for Nature Conservation Research National Programme for Ecosystem Research. South African Scientific Programmes Report. Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 310 p.
Nico LG, Beamish WH, Musikasinthorn P, 2007. Discovery of the invasive Mayan Cichlid fish "Cichlasoma" urophthalmus (Günther 1862) in Thailand, with comments on other introductions and potential impacts. Aquatic Invasions, 2(3):197-214. http://www.aquaticinvasions.ru/2007/AI_2007_2_3_Nico_etal.pdf
Parenti L, Rauchenberger M, 1989. Systematic overview of the Poeciliines. In: Ecology and evolution of livebearing fishes (Poeciliidae) [ed. by Meffe GK, Snelson FFJ] Eaglewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall, 3-12.
Reshetnikov YS, Bogutskaya N, Vasil'eva E, Dorofeeva E, Naseka A, Popova O, Savvaitova K, Sideleva V, Sokolov L, 1997. An annotated check-list of the freshwater fishes of Russia. Journal of Ichthyology, 37:687-736.
Rixon CAM, Duggan IC, Bergeron NMN, Ricciardi A, MacIsaac HJ, 2005. Invasion risks posed by the aquarium trade and live fish markets on the Laurentian Great Lakes. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14(6):1365-1381.
Stiassny M, Raminosoa N, 1994. The fishes of the inland waters of Madagascar. In: Biological diversity of African fresh- and brackish water fishes [ed. by Teugels G, Guégan J] Senegal: Ann. Mus. R. Afr. Centr., Sci. Zool., 133-148. [Geographical overviews presented at the PARADI Symposium.]
US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014. In: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service species assessment and listing priority assignment form: Megalagrion xanthomelas. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 14 pp. http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/candidate/assessments/2014/r1/I063_I01.pdf
OrganizationsTop of page
Italy: FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, http://www.fao.org/
ContributorsTop of page
07/03/08 Original text by:
Lyndon Jordan, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Biological Sciences Building, Randwick, NSW, 2052, Australia
Distribution MapsTop of page
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