Limia

Sub species Limia

Limia caymanensis

Limia dominicensis

Limia melanogaster

Limia melanonotata

Limia nigrofasciata

Limia pauciradiata

Limia perugiae

Limia sp ‘Tiger’

Limia sulphurophila

Limia tridens

Limia versicolor

Limia vittata

Limia yaguajali

Limia zonata

Sub species Orthodontolimia

Limia fuscomaculata

Limia garnieri

Limia grossidens

Limia immaculata

Limia miragoanensis

Limia ornata

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Limia vittata (Guichenot, 1853)

Etymology:                           

Limia: Limia derived from the Latin ‘limus’ meaning mud, pertaining to the feeding habits of the fish

Vittata: (Latin) meaning “striped” or “banded”

First description:

Guichenot, A. 1853: Poissons. In: De la sagra, R., Histoire physique, politique et naturelle de l’Ile de

Cuba. Vol. 2. Paris. 1-206, Pisces pls. 1-5

Synonyms:

Poecilia vittata Guichenot, 1853                                                                                                      

Limia cubensis Poey, 1854                                                                                                               

Limia pavonina Poey, 1876

Group:

This species belongs to the subgenus Limia

Populations:                         

Found all over Cuba and Isle of Pines, an introduced population can also be found in Hawaii

Habitat:                                 

Streams, lakes, estuaries, coastal lagoons, and mangrove swamps, the species is generally found in the lower reaches of streams or in coastal marshes near brackish and saline waters. 

Size:                                      

Males to 50 mm SL, females to >100 mm

Colouration:

Wild caught fish have a base colour is an olive green/beige with a dark edge to their scales which give a net like appearance. The sides have from two to four rows of dots whilst the underside of the fish especially around the belly are white.

Males have a yellow tint to their dorsal and caudal fins which are covered in numerous black spots. Several brown vertical stripes are also visible on their flanks.

Females are plainer than the males and generally have two rows of feint bands or spots on their dorsal fins.

Wild fish can be found with the characteristic blotching on, but this is a low proportion.

Aquarium strain fish have a base colour of pale beige with a white belly, with a range of black and sometimes some deep yellow blotches on the sides. The scales have the dark edging similar to the wild form.

Males have yellow to almost orange dorsal and caudal fins, these are covered in numerous black spots.

Females have a yellow patch behind the anal fin. The fins are generally without colour and may have a few scattered dark spots. 

Behaviour:

An active fish with a peaceful but inquisitive nature.

Husbandry:

A large aquarium planted to allow plenty of swimming space and having a moderate current will suit these fish, regular water changes are recommended and a Ph. of 7.6 to 8.0 should be aimed for. 

Breeding Notes:

Females can produce over 100 fry every 4-6 weeks. 

Wild caught male and female

Pictures courtesy of Don Kenwood

Aquarium strain

Picture courtesy of Alan Pool

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Neoheterandria elegans (HENN, 1916)

Etymology:                 Neoheterandria: from the Ancient Greek Neo meaning new, heteros, meaning ‘other, another, different’, and andros, meaning ‘male’.

elegans: from the Latin elegans, meaning fine, elegant, and handsome.

First description:        Henn, A. W., 1916 – Annals of the Carnegie Museum 10(1-2): 93-142 on various South American poeciliid fishes.

Common name            :           Tiger Teddy

Synonyms:                  None

Type Locality:                        Río Truandó,

The Río Truandó is a tributary of the Lower Río Atrato, Colombia

Distribution:               Neoheterandria elegans is only found in the type locality

Habitat:                      Found in shallow water with dense vegetation.

Size:                            Male 2.0 cm Female 2.5 cm

Colour/Pattern:          The overall base colour is an olive green with a series of black stripes on the flanks from below the dorsal fin to the caudal fin. The amount of stripes is different for each fish and range from 6 to 9, the stripes themselves can vary in thickness depending on the individual but the stripe directly above the anal fin is notably darker and thicker than the others and highlighted by a surrounding golden colour. The belly below the lateral line is silver/white.

Unpaired fins start out similar to the base colour of the body and as they spread out the colour fads and becomes a pale grey colour with more pronounced grey/blue edge.

Behaviour:                  Tiger teddies are a shy species that appears to do better in a species only setup, given a well planted aquarium that is heavily planted will bring them out, can be kept with dwarf corydoras and ottocinclus type fish and also shrimp are good companions.

Larger females can have a tendency to be aggressive.

Husbandry:                 Neoheterandria elegans can be kept in a smaller aquarium with dense vegetation. They only require minimal water movement so a sponge filter or similar is required. Water parameters are not too much of an issue with minimal hardness preferred with a ph. over 7 and a temperature of between 24 and 28 °C.

Water changes should be done regularly with 25% to 50% being changed weekly.

Neoheterandria elegans is a micro predator and will need small live or frozen foods to thrive, microworms, grindall worms and artemia nauplii. Will take crushed flake. They do have small superior mouths (opens upward) which means they will struggle to feed from the substrate.

Breeding Notes:         This species use the same method of reproduction as Heterandria formosa known as ‘superfoetation’ (superfetation in some literature) this is where the female can have multiple pregnancies at different stages of development running at the same time. The female appears to be constantly pregnant and will drop up to two fry every couple of days or so.

A mature sponge filter is a good idea to provide gentle circulation and infusoria supply. A good supply of infusoria supplemented with regular feeds of brine shrimp nauplii or small worms such as Walter worms will aid the growth of the fry.

The fry will grow fairly quickly and reach sexual maturity in as little as three months.

References:                Henn, A. W., 1916 – Annals of the Carnegie Museum 10(1-2): 93-142 on various South American poeciliid fishes.

Wischnath, L., 1993 – Atlas of livebearers of the world.

Seriously fish                                     www.seriouslyfish.com

                                    Badmans                                            badmanstropicalfish.com

                                    Chicago Livebearer society              www.chicagolivebearer.com

                                    Breeding Tiger TeddiesPetcha    www.petcha.com

Photograph taken from the Old British livebearers website with the permission of Tim Addis

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Girardinus metallicus (Poey, 1854)

Etymology:                 Girardinus after the French – American ichthyologist Charles Girard

metallicus referring to the metallic body colouration.

First description:        Poey F. 1854.

Los guajacones, poecesillos de agua dulce. In Poey, F., Memorias sobre la historia natural de la Isla de Cuba.

Havana, vol. 1, pp 374 – 392, figs 8-11.

Common name            :           Metallic livebearer, Metallic Topminnow

Synonyms:                  Girardinus garmani Eigenmann 1903

Girardinus pygmaeus Rivas 1944

Type Locality:                        Botanic Gardens, Havana, Cuba.

Distribution:               Costa Rica, Throughout Cuba, except easternmost area at 200-300 m elevation.

History:                      Reports suggest the first import for the aquarium trade was made in 1906 by W. Schroot of Hamburg.

Habitat:                      It can be found in streams, ponds and ditches. The water is commonly stagnant and often brackish.

Inhabits ponds, lakes and streams. Prefers clear, stagnant or very sluggish water.

Size:                            Male 5.0 cm, Female 9.0 cm

Description                 Girardinus metallicus has a streamlined head and body with a superior mouth. The dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins are medium length and rounded. Females have longer, deeper, more rounded bodies than the males with rounded anal fins.

Colour/Pattern:          There are two known colour variants for this species the better known ‘black-chin’ and a gold belly form.

Black chin – males have a black line starting from the mouth from the mouth and continuing through the underside of the body (including the gonopodium) and can reach the caudal fin, some specimens can have further black colouration which in some circumstances envelopes the whole head.

Gold form – males have a gold underside extending from the rear of the belly to the caudal peduncle.

The females for both variants look the same,

Bodies and heads range between translucent silver to a pale gold to olive colour. Iridescent silver diamond-shaped bars along the lateral line.

 Dorsal fin has a black spot at the bottom centre of the dorsal fin. Males have a deep overall metallic gold sheen, making the silver diamonds appear brighter and larger than on the paler female.

Behaviour:                  Peaceful, will predate fry. Likes to swim in the upper part of water column

Husbandry:                 Water should be medium hard and alkaline with a gentle flow, a sponge filter or something of that ilk is perfect. A temperature of 24º to 26º should be aimed for

Girardinus metallicus are omnivores and enjoy live or frozen foods, supplemented with algae flakes and small pellet food.

A well planted tank comprising of a substrate of sand/gravel and plenty of surface cover will help this fish to acclimatise and feel secure. Hiding places will also be advantageous.

Breeding Notes:         As with other poeciliid species, the males are known for their persistent behaviour so a ratio of at least 2 females per male is recommended.

Gestation takes around 24 – 28 days and broods of between 15-30 fry can be expected and adult fish will predate on the young so plenty of plant cover is required to provide shelter for the fry.

References:                Wischnath, L., 1993 – Atlas of livebearers of the world.

Seriously fish                                                 www.seriouslyfish.com

                                    Badmans                                                        badmanstropicalfish.com

Lee, D.S., S.P. Platania and G.H. Burgess, 1983. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes

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Xiphophorus couchianus (Girard C. 1859)

Etymology:

Xiphophorus: Greek, xiphos = sword + Greek, pherein = to carry

couchianus after Lieutenant D.N. Couch.

First description:

Girard C. 1859

Ichthyological notices, 41 – 59.

Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia. No.11: 113 – 122.

Synonyms:

Limia couchianus Girard 1859

Common Name

Monterrey Platy

History:

Described by Girard in 1859 as Limia couchianus & later placed in Xiphophorus.

A female was used as a holotype measuring 41 mm. This was collected in the San Rio Juan in the area of Cadarecta & Monterrey, Nuevo León State, Mexico.

Group:

Xiphophorus couchianus is one of the three northern platys that belong to the Rio Grande platy subset consisting of consisting of X. couchianus, X. gordoni and X. meyeri.

Type Locality:

Rio San Juan, Cadarecta and Monterrey, Nuevo León State, Mexico.

There is some doubt as to the validity of this type location as there is a town named Cadereyta 35Km east of Monterrey.

Distribution:

Extinct in the wild

Populations:

Huasteca Canyon (Nuevo León State, Mexico)

Habitat:

Headwater streams, spring pools & rarely in sluggish flowing streams & ditches. The base is mostly clay & mud with a few areas of rock. Aquatic plants are quite dense with marginal plants near the banks.

Size:

Males: 30 mm, females: 40 mm

Colour/Pattern Variability:

The upper part of the body is dark brown, the scales have darker edging to give a net like appearance. The lower part of the body is off white.

The dorsal and anal fins have several dark crescents on them. All other fins are clear.

Behaviour:

A shy species and secretive species that like plenty of plant cover to hide in.

Husbandry:

A well planted aquarium with a temperature of 24°C and regular small water changes, although fairly tolerant of water conditions a sudden change in pH will kill this sp.

This species is reported as short lived and only expected to reach 12 months of age.

Breeding Notes:

Older females are known to produce weak young which have a high mortality rate. Brood sizes are reported at an average of 20 but 40 has been recorded in young adult females.

General remarks:

The original populations from the Huasteca Canyon died out in 1964 when the springs dried out due to excessive water pumping lowering the water table.

 A Xiphophorus species was discovered at Apodaca 20km northeast of the centre of Monterrey which was believed to be an undescribed sp. possibly a spotted form of X. couchianus (markings reminiscent of X. meyeri) or even a new species. Unfortunately this species has also died out and as the type specimens of X. couchianus cannot be found comparisons between the two species cannot be made.

References:

The Genus Xiphophorus in Mexico and Central America – Klaus D. Kallman and Steven Kazianis

Platies and swordtails – Derek and Pat Lambert

Photograph courtesy of Dave Macallister

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Xiphophorus xiphidium (Gordon 1932)

Etymology:

Xiphophorus: Greek, xiphos = sword

+ Greek, pherein = to carry

Xiphidium: Greek, xiph from xiphos = sword. Latin, idium = diminutive

First description:

Dr. Myron Gordon going on expedition. Aquatic Life 15: 287–288. (1932)

Synonyms:

Platypoecilus xiphidium – Meek, 1904.
Platypoecilus maculatus – 1913. 
Platypoecilius variatus -1932.

Xiphophorus variatus xiphidium – 1960

Common name:

Spiketail platy

History:

Original collection by Gordon, Creaser, and Ostos on April 25th 1930

Group:

Xiphophorus xiphidium is one of the northern platys consisting of X. variatus, X. evelynae, X. xiphidium, X. couchianus, X. gordoni and X. meyeri.

Type Locality:

Río Corona at La Corona, 15 miles north of Ciudad, Victoria, Río Soto la Marina system, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Distribution:

Found throughout the Rio Soto La Marina system, including ponds and irrigation ditches close to the river system.

Populations:

Rio Purification

Rio Santa Engracia (Rio Corona)

Habitat:

Inhabits tranquil zones of slow-flowing waters of ditches, spring areas, marshes and ponds.

Size:

Males 30 mm, Females 40 mm

Distinguishing Characteristics:

A deep bodied species with a high back and a stubby tail, a small sword or spike is present on the mature males.

Colour/Pattern Variability:

Males

The basic body colouration is greenish brown on the top, becoming white on the belly, in males as they reach sexual maturity they begin to develop their full colouration.  This can be quite variable and well coloured specimens will have their basic body colour overlaid with purple and dominant males can develop a number of vertical black bars along the upper flanks. Sometimes black spots will also develop and may become so profuse that the whole of the middle region of the fish will be purple with a black saddle.

The caudal peduncle has a variety of markings from nothing to a full spot encompassing the caudal peduncle. The more usual markings found in the hobby are two spot, crescent and single spot.

The dorsal fin is a pale yellow to clear in colour and has a crescent marking within.

All other fins are pale yellow to clear in colour.

Females

The basic body colouration is greenish brown on the top, becoming white on the belly. Sometimes small black spots will also develop on the flanks.

The caudal peduncle has the same range of markings as the males.

The dorsal fin is a pale yellow to clear in colour and has a crescent marking within.

All other fins are pale yellow to clear in colour.

Behaviour:

Generally a peaceful fish, however a dominant male will guard a territory and protect it from other males. The females are free to roam between territories.

Husbandry:

A well planted tank with regular water changes and a diet that includes some live food. Temperature range is from 18C to 25C, with Dereck Lambert recommending 23C

Breeding Notes:

Broods are born on a monthly cycle and number from 20 to 35, provided there is plenty of cover and food then this species can be flock bred.

Remarks:

Dereck Lambert in Platies and swordtails states that the caudal markings have been associated with certain populations, but in fact, fish with all the tail-spot patterns can be caught in the same net in the wild.

References:

Donn E. Rosen: Middle American poeciliid fishes of the genus Xiphophorus.Bull. Fla. St. Mus. Biol. Sci. 5 (4): 57 – 242.

Derek and Pat Lambert: Platies and swordtails        

Photograph courtesy of Dave Macallister

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Xiphophorus evelynae (Rosen 1960)

Etymology:

Xiphophorus: Greek, xiphos = sword + Greek, pherein = to carry

evelynae: named after Mrs. Evelyn Gordon.

First description:

Donn E. Rosen 1960.

Middle American poeciliid fishes of the genus Xiphophorus.

Bull. Fla. St. Mus. Biol. Sci. 5 (4): 57 – 242.

Synonyms:

X.variatus evelynae Rosen 1960

Common name:

Pueblo platy

History:

Collected by M. & E. Gordon on the 6th April 1939.

Originally collected by Mrs. Evelyn Gordon in 1939.

First UK import is recorded in April 1979 by Howard Preston, who met Dr. A. C. Radda in Puebla, Mexico. Radda had been collecting & gave him some fish. No data is available as to the collection site.

Group:

Xiphophorus evelynae is one of the northern platys consisting of X. variatus, X. evelynae, X. xiphidium, X. couchianus, X. gordoni and X. meyeri.

Type Locality:

The confluence of the Rio’s Xanthophyll & Necaxa at Tepexic, Mexico.

Distribution:

Restricted to a series of cataracts near the village of Necaxa (also known as La Mesa). This is an area approx. 1220 metres above sea level.

Populations:

Rio Necaxa (Puebla State, Mexico)

Habitat:

Restricted to springs and the power company’s reservoirs around the village of Nexcaxa. Larger more colourful specimens were found at the base of the water fall 580m below the reservoirs, but were wiped out by torrential flooding caused by a hurricane. The species have never returned to the waters below the waterfall, possibly because the water that flowed from the reservoirs and became the waterfall are now deflected to the power company’s hydroelectric generators. Other livebearers such as Poecillia sphenops and pseudoxiphophorus bimaculatus have managed to re-established colonies there.

Size:

Males: 40 mm, females 50 mm.

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The body shape of X. evelynae is similar to its’ close relative the X. variatus.

Colour/Pattern Variability:

Males

The male develops 8 to 12 thin black vertical bars, the body base colour ranges from a pale brown to a honey yellow. Some specimens have black speckling on the flanks.

The dorsal fin is an orange or yellow colour sometimes with darker crescents mid dorsal, the pigment fades towards the outside of the fin.

The Caudal fin is an orange or yellow near to the caudal peduncle and fades towards to outer parts of the fin.

All other fins are clear

Females

The body base colour is a pale brown colour, sometimes females develop some dark speckling on the flanks.

All fins are clear.

Behaviour:

Regarded as an active but peaceful fish.

Husbandry:

A Planted tank with regular water changes and some gentle filtration is generally all this species require. Lower temperatures are appreciated

Breeding Notes:

Regarded as an easy fish to breed, broods are born on a 4 weekly cycle and can number up to 50 robust fry. Parents will tolerate young in the tank but older females have been known to be cannibalistic towards them.

Fry are known to hide at the base level of the tank for the first few days.

Can be flock bred provided there is sufficient plant cover and food.

Remarks:

I have kept this species outside in a large tub throughout the summer. Prior to going outside I struggled to get these fish to look happy or even settled in. On collecting them from the tub after the summer and returning them to their aquarium I have found that they have positively thrived. The numbers have increased, their size and colour have improved and they themselves are happier than before. Some reports I have seen have stated that this species will survive at temperatures as low as 4C, but I am not sure I would recommend trying this.

 This is a species you should try as your first garden tub experiment.

References:

Middle American poeciliid fishes of the genus Xiphophorus.

Bull. Fla. St. Mus. Biol. Sci. 5 (4): 57 – 242.                                    Donn E. Rosen

Platies and swordtails                                                                      Derek and Pat Lambert

Fishbase

Wikipedia  

Young fish. Photo Tim Addis.

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The Northern Platies

Xiphophorus evelynae

Xiphophorus variatus

Xiphophorus xiphidium

Xiphophorus couchianus

Xiphophorus gordoni

Xiphophorus meyeri

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Xiphophorus continens (Zimmerer and Kallman 1988)

Etymology:

Xiphophorus: Greek, xiphos = sword + Greek, pherein = to carry

Continens: Greek, conto = short + Latin, ensis, = sword

(Reference to the very small sword developed in males of this species.)

First description:

Zimmerer and Kallman 1988

American Museum Novitates Number 2975, June 27, 1990.

Monophyly and Geography of the Rio Panuco Basin Swordtails (Genus Xiphophorus) with

Descriptions of Four New Species

Mary Rauchenberger, Klaus D. Kallman and Donald C. Morizot

Common names

El Quince Swordtail

Synonyms

Xiphophorus sp. Nov. Zimmer & Kallman 1988.

Group:

Xiphophorus continens is one of nine northern swordtails and belongs to the Montezumae clade, consisting of X. montezumae, X. nezahualcoyotl, X. continens

Type Locality:

The Nacimiento of the Rio Ojo Frio at El Quince, north of Rascon, Rio Gallinas- Rio Panuco drainage, San Luis Potosi, Mexico

Collected on April 27, 1984, by K. D. Kallman and D. C. Morizo

Distribution:

Headwaters of the Rio Ojo Frio, north of Damian Carmona, Rio Panuco drainage, San Luis Potosi. Mexico

Populations:

Rio Ojo Frio, El Quince, San Luis Potosi. Mexico.

Habitat:

Fast flowing river, with high aquatic vegetation with a stony river bed.

Size:

Males 2.5cm, Females 3.5cm

Distinguishing characteristics:

It is a small, slender species, with a slender caudal peduncle. The sword is barely noticeable with a maximum length of 1 millimetre.

Colour/Pattern Variability:

A small slender species, the body colour is pale golden brown with a darker brown midlateral stripe. There are one or two less prominent zigzag stripes above the midlateral stripe. The underneath section is white from the mouth to the anal fin.

The dorsal and caudal fins are clear to pale yellow, all other fins are clear.

 Males do not develop a sword greater than 1 mm.

Behaviour:

Not a shy fish when settled, will happily swim around the front of the aquarium looking for food. 

Husbandry:

A well planted aquarium with a temperature of 21 – 22 degrees C

Breeding Notes:

After a gestation period of 24-28 days, female produces 10 to 20 young,

Remarks

The overall shape and appearance of this species is most similar to X. pygmaeus and was assumed to be closely related. Closer scrutiny has found that X. continens shares characteristics found in X. montezumae and X. nezahualcoyotl.

References:

Rauchenberger, Kallman & Morizot: American Museum Novitates Number 2975, June 27, 1990.

Monophyly and Geography of the Rio Panuco Basin Swordtails (Genus Xiphophorus) with

Descriptions of Four New Species                

Derek and Pat Lambert: Platies and swordtails                                          

Photograph courtesy of Dave Macallister

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Xiphophorus multilineatus (Rauchenberger, Kallman & Morizot 1990)

Etymology:

Xiphophorus: Greek, xiphos = sword + Greek, pherein = to carry

multilineatus: Greek: multi-, many; -lineatus, line; in reference to the prominent vertical bars on the flanks.

First description:

Rauchenberger, Kallman & Morizot 1990

Rauchenberger, M., K. D. Kallman, AND D. C. Morizot (1990) Monophyly and geography of the Rio Panuco basin swordtails (genus Xiphophorus) with descriptions of four new species. American Museum Novitates 2975, 1–41.

Synonyms:

X. nigrensis Rosen, 1979

Common name:

High-Backed Pygmy Swordtail

History:

Collected by K. D. Kallman, D. C. Morizot, V. Borkoski, and G. Peters on February 17th 1979

Group:

Xiphophorus multilineatus is one of nine northern swordtails and belongs to the Pygmaeus clade consisting of consisting of X. pygmaeus, X. nigrensis and X. multilineatus.

Type Locality:

Rio Coy near its confluence with the Rio Tampaon, Rio P’anuco drainage, SLP, Mexico.

Distribution:

Rio Coy system, Rio Panuco drainage, SLP: throughout Rio Coy, Arroyo Tambaque, and Arroyo Oxitipa as far as Octzen.

Habitat:

Found in a fast flowing river with dense aquatic plant growth and overhanging shore vegetation.

Size:

Males: 25mm to 40mm,     Females: 40mm

Distinguishing characteristics:

A species with a four known size variations within the male range, the largest variant is the one most often in the hobby. X. multilineatus in its larger form is a small high backed form of swordtail with a medium sized sword of roughly ½ – ¾ total body length.

Colour/Pattern Variability:

Males

There are four size variants ranging from 25mm to 40mm, the larger males develop a high back and vertical barring on the flanks. All males have a body colouring of pale metallic blue and a single bold zigzag midlateral line, (present from birth). A black spot can be found at the base of the pectoral fins on all sizes of male except the smallest size variant. The scales above the lateral have a dark edge giving a net like appearance.

A caudal spot is present but only really prominent on the large males. The caudal fin is edged in black and has is generally clear. The sword length varies according to the size variant, the largest males can have a sword length equal to the body length and the smallest 1-2mm. The sword is distinctly upturned, particularly when small and the colouring does not reach the end of the sword, the sword is edged in black.

The dorsal fin is generally clear, there is a black edge and a black band one third of the way up the fin.

As with all of the Pygmaeus clade a yellow male form can be found, but in X. multilineatus this only exists in the smaller size.

Females

A basic body colour of greyish blue with a single bold zigzag lateral line. The scales above the lateral have a dark edge giving a net like appearance.

The dorsal fin is clear, there is a faint black edge and faint black band one third of the way up the fin.

Behaviour:

A timid species that spends much of its time hidden amongst the foliage.

Husbandry:

A large well planted with filtration, aeration and frequent water changes.

Breeding Notes:

Broods are born on a monthly cycle and number about 5 – 10, 20 being generally the maximum amount, fry are large and normally left alone by the parents.

References:

Rauchenberger, Kallman & Morizot: Monophyly and Geography of the Rio P’anuco Basin Swordtails (Genus Xiphophorus) with descriptions of four new species            

Derek and Pat Lambert: Platies and swordtails                              

Photo courtesy of Dave Macallister

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