Xiphophorus evelynae (Rosen 1960)


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.


X.variatus evelynae Rosen 1960

Common name:

Pueblo platy


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.


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.


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.


Rio Necaxa (Puebla State, Mexico)


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.


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:


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


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

All fins are clear.


Regarded as an active but peaceful fish.


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.


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.


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



Young fish. Photo Tim Addis.

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