Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Cyprinodontiformes
(Rivulines, killifishes and live bearers) > Poeciliidae
(Poeciliids) > Poeciliinae
Etymology: Poecilia: Greek, poikilos = with a lot of colours (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; non-migratory; depth range 0 - ? m (Ref. 55263). Subtropical; 20°C - 28°C (Ref. 2060); 40°N - 16°N, 103°W - 76°W (Ref. 55263)
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 15.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5723); 10.0 cm TL (female); common length : 3.4 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193)
The large sail-like dorsal fin of the male is the most distinctive characteristic of this fish; coloration can vary from green, gray to jet black; speckled forms also common (Ref. 44091).
North America: Cape Fear drainage in North Carolina, USA to Veracruz, Mexico. Introduced to many countries. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction. Gulf of Mexico (Ref. 26938).
Found in still or gently flowing warm water of small creeks and drains (Ref. 44894). Occurs in ponds, lakes, sloughs, and quiet, often vegetated, backwaters and pools of streams (Ref. 5723) and also in coastal waters (Ref. 7251). Abundant in tidal ditches and brackish canals. Feeds mainly on algae (Refs. 7251; 44091), also consumes animal material: rotifers, small crustaceans (such as copepods and ostracods) and aquatic insects (Ref. 79012).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
After 28 days gestation, this species produces 10 to 100 young.
Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p. (Ref. 5723)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Aquarium: highly commercial
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00851 (0.00358 - 0.02025), b=3.19 (2.99 - 3.39), based on LWR estimates for this Subfamily-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.0 ±0.00 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (tm<1; mutiple spawning per year; Fec=10--300).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (32 of 100) .