Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Cyprinodontiformes
(Rivulines, killifishes and live bearers) > Poeciliidae
(Poeciliids) > Poeciliinae
Etymology: Xiphophorus: Greek, xiphos = sword + Greek, pherein = to carry (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 7.0 - 8.0; dH range: 9 - 19; non-migratory. Tropical; 18°C - 25°C (Ref. 1672); 23°N - 17°N, 99°W - 86°W
North and Central America: Ciudad Veracruz, Mexico to northern Belize. At least one country reports adverse ecological impact after introduction.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 1 - 4.2 cm
Max length : 4.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 57749); 6.0 cm TL (female); common length : 2.3 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193)
Morphology | Morphometrics
(total): 8-10. Distinct line of black pigment midventrally on caudal peduncle absent. Greatest body depth about 2 times in SL. Ventral rays of caudal fin of males not elongated into a sword. Male gonopodium falling short of caudal fin base, without a membranous protuberance, third ray with a strong hook (Ref. 30499).
Adults occur in warm springs, canals and ditches with typically slow-moving water, silt bottoms and weedy banks (Refs. 5723; 44091, 44894). Also inhabit creeks and swamps (Ref. 44894). Feed on worms, crustaceans, insects and plant matter (Refs. 7020; 44091). Used for genetic research (Ref. 4537). Several color varieties are popular aquarium fishes, where they attain sexual maturity after 3-4 months and reproduce easily (Ref. 1672). Aquarium keeping: minimum aquarium size 60 cm (Ref. 51539).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
After 24 to 30 days gestation, 20 to 80 young are born (Ref 7020).
Rodriguez, C.M., 1997. Phylogenetic analysis of the tribe Poeciliini (Cyprinodontiformes: Poeciliidae). Copeia 1997(4):663-679. (Ref. 26855)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 119314)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: commercial
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.2 ±0.40 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (tm<1).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (13 of 100) .