Guppies were firstly discovered back in 1859 by german scientist Wilhelm Peters. Wilhelm Carl Hartwig Peters collected multiple kinds of fish in Venezuela. Among these fish were guppies. By observing the irregular marks on both body and tail fin, Peters named these fish "Poecilia reticulata".
A few years later in 1861, a spaniard by the name of Filippi discovered a similar shaped looking fish in Barbados. Filippi compared these fish to the ones found by Peters and noticed some differences. Which made him think that this species would be a different one than the Poecilia reticulata. Just the bodyshape looked similar. Because he thought it was a different species, he called these fish "Lebistes poecilia".
It was back in 1866 that english botanist Dr. Robert John Lechmere Guppy brought home a number of fish from the Trinidad islands. Robert Guppy was English born but spend his life on Trinidad and Tobago. He donated these fish to Dr. Albert Günther who was working at the British Museum (Natural History Museum). Dr.Günther assumed that Dr. Guppy discovered these fish himself at the Trinidad islands and named these fish " Girardinus guppyi" (also spelled as Girardinus guppii). Named after Dr. Guppy himself. But it turned out that Dr. Guppy didn't discover these fish himself but only brought them to England. Despite of the fact that Dr. Guppy didn't discovered these fish himself, this fish is till this very day known as 'Guppy".
It was in 1909 that the head of the fish gathering for the British Museum, mr. J.A.M. Vipan, started crossbreeding guppies from Venezuela, Trinidad and Barbados. From the trails it was proven that all guppies from of all the three origins were the same species. And the name was changed into "Lebistes reticulatus" in 1913 by Regan. And later on in 1963 it was changed into "Poecilia reticulata" again by Rosen and Bailey.
Above: Wilhelm Carl Hartwig Peters
(☼ April 22 1815 - † April 20 1883)
Below: Robert John Lechmere Guppy
(☼ August 15 1836 - † August 5 1916)
Of course, guppies are officially originated from Central- and South-America but over several decades they were exported throughout the world. To be sold to aquarists, zoo's, for regulating the insect plagues (e.g. mosquitos and so on...), regulating algae overgrowth, etc.... As well for breeding programs to maintain the original form and to hybridize or to linebreed which has resulted to the variety of wellknown fancy guppies which we've known for decades as well... Europe has been of a very important value regarding guppies when it comes to the scientific approach of determining the genus' and further related issues. With a special focus on Germany.
Native wild types
These are guppies indigenous to the area where they were caught. The range of native wild guppies are restricted to the Caribbean and North Eastern South America.
Feral wild types
These are guppies which were introduced by man to a different wild environment than the endemic areas.
True wild types
Both native and feral wild guppies are true wild guppies and are taken directly from the wild.
Wild descended types
These are guppies which were produced by a colony that has a direct line to the true wild population.
On this page I'd like to continue telling you something about my wild guppies in general. In this chapter I'll leave out all endler strains for those are specifically mentioned in chapter "Livebearer2". The strains that will be mentioned overhere are no endlers of any kind. For a lot of people make the mistake that each wildguppy is an endler. A false statement! An endler is a "guppy related" wild form!
I also like to point out that a guppy isn't always a Poecilia reticulata. There are more wild guppies that aren't Poecilia reticulata.
Officially, there are four groups of guppies in the wild:
1.) Poecilia reticulata
2.) Poecilia obscura
3.) Poecilia kempkesi
4.) Poecilia wingei (despite of the fact that it's still debatable how close it's related to the guppy).
A fifth group could be added to these four groups. This concerns the subspecies "Micropoecilia". All five groups are related but differ in DNA. Despite of the fact that these five groups differ in DNA, they can crossbreed and have fertile offspring.
Besides keeping all kinds of wild guppies and wildtype guppies, at some point I also started keeping a group of Cumana guppies (no endlers btw...),Colombia Rio lobo's and wild guppies from Lake Cienaga Daigui at the place Choco in Colombia. Most males of the Cumana guppies had some orange and black spots on the side. Most males from Lake Cienaga Daigui had peacock patterns on the sides and bluish lyretails. At the other hand, the Rio lobo's males were the most colorful ones. Of course, like most wild guppies the females didn't appear that colorful like the males.
To put an anecdote out here.... I do recall that during the seventies till mid eighties wild guppies in the pet store were available for ridiculous low prices. At that time I'd be able to give the owner of the pet store about 3 guilders and I was allowed to fill one huge net with a lot of these little guys. In some way they all wanted to sell those fancy guppies instead of these short tailed and less bright colored guppies. They were also sold as so-called feeder fish. And also for that reason they were sold at low prices at that time... But if I'd take a look at the current prices, it's been incredibly increased for that matter. Anyways, I've always thought that wild guppies had more charm than the fancy guppies. And to me that's still the way it is!
Look at the difference between male and female. More and more males are developing peacock spots on their sides. Also the dark spot at the start of the tail appears more frequently. The females however stay in comparison to the males less brighter in coloration.
Above: An Asian blau male specimen.
As the pictures show, the male wildguppy is able to perform more pigmentation after bred in captivity for a couple of generations. But to be honest, the fancy guppies have their origin from these kinds of wild guppies. And look at those fancy guppies these days how colorful they've become... But I don't like the delta- and triangle shaped tails so I'll stick to the wild forms and fancies which have short fins and tails (with the exception of lyretails and swords).
I also like to make the remark that although wild guppies are gray based, in captivity blonde, bronze and golden mutations can occur. I'm even convinced that in free nature some blonde, bronze and golden specimens must occur as well between all those gray based ones. In a way, it's not even that weird for several wild strains have adapted their shape and color patterns to the circumstances of their environment.
Another note is that it's been said so often that wild guppies don't have sparkling colors or they're less intense colored. This is an incorrect information. It depends on the strain and location wether wild guppies will be bright colored or not. Mostly it's got to do wether they live in an environment where predators share the same waters. In such environments, they're more pale colored. If there isn't or there are hardly predators, the coloration will be brighter. And even metallic wild guppies do occur. So, the suggestion that only wild endlers are carrying metallic colors in comparison to wild guppies ain't correct. It should be said that endlers are metallic colored but so "can" wild guppies.
Above: Phenotypes of male Cumana, Quare6 and Maculatus wild guppies. (A,C,E) Lateral aspects of adult males taken under incident light conditions. White rectangles indicate details enlarged in (B.D.F) and figures 6 and 7. Traits are labeled with numbers according to their appearance in the text: 1. Cumana black and orange ornaments on the dorsal fin; 2. Cumana blue iridescent spot; 3. Cumana ventral black margin of the caudal penducle; 4. Cuman orange-black lining of the tail fin; 5. Quare6 tail fin color pattern; 6. Central black spot; 7. Central orange spot; 8. Quare6 posterlor black spot on caudal penducle; 9. Maculatus black spot and whitish ornaments on the dorsal fin.
(↑ Reference: Journal.pone.0085647.g002)
Above: Blue and golden phenotypes. (A) Dorsal aspect of newborns. (B) lateral aspect of adult males. (C) Dorsal aspect of adult males. (D) Lateral aspect of adult females. (E) Details of areas boxed in D showing the reticulate pattern. (F) Ventral view of the caudal penducle of females (indicated by white arrows in D). Golden mutants of both sexes lack a ventral black stripe and have only a few melanophores on the anterior head, including the choroid of the eyes. Golden females lack the female pigment spot above the anal fin (white asterisks in D). Individuals shown are from the BDZW1 (wild type, golden) and BDZW2 (blue) background. Bars: (A) 1 mm; (B & C) 2 mm; (D) 5 mm; (E & F) 0,5 mm.(↑ Reference: www.genetics.org/content/194/3/631)
Japan blue wildtype guppies
Japan blue wildtype guppies have often been mistaken to be named endlers for so many years.
They're suppose to be guppies which have been found in japanese waters. According to the story, it's an evolved strain from a complete different kind of wildtype guppies which were released overthere for a long time ago. Wether this story is true or not... it remains a wonderful wildtype guppy...
They're also called neon blue wildtype guppy. The intensity of the blue does differ per individual male. The fins can be clear or marked with colours or pattern. In general they're quite hardy and easy breeders.
There's also a japan blue endler hybrid. These can be recognized by the dot or black bar on both sides of the male's chest. All other features are similar to the japan blue wildtype guppy. The first japan blues I've kept was back in 2004. At that time still sold as being endlers.
One of the strains that I've kept and which I've bred is the so-called Congo wildguppy. This is a feral species which occurs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (or Congo-Kinshasa and former Zaïre) in Central-Africa. The species is endemic to areas of the Congo river and surrounded mangroves.
Overhere some males and females are shown. In general most males have peacock pattern on their bodies.
In May 2017 (many years after I've kept these guppies), I've received a small colony of Congo wild guppies Brazzaville again from Leendert van den Berg (chairman of Poecilia Netherlands). It turned out to be the same species as I had for years ago.
This strain is also a very interesting one. These are kept just by themselves in a tank. The patterns differ from male to male. The same goes for the shape of their tails. They're a bit slimmer and longer than the Congo wild guppies.
Also these males have peacock pattern on their bodies. They're real beauties to have !
Below we see pics of several male Ecuador wild guppies. It's a colorful strain and very hardy...
Rio picota honda colombian wild guppy
Although, you would expect that this strain should occur just in Mexico, the fact is different. These are Colombian instead of Mexican. The species occurs in both countries. It's not actually determined wether it's exactly the same strain but they do look very similar to another.
This strain is to be found at Balneario la Picota / Rio Picota, departamento de Tolima, Colombia.
These males don't have any pattern in their tails. Further on it's a short tailed wildguppy, So, no lyretails!
Like most wild guppies, also this strain is very easy and hardy. In this pic on the right a not complete colored juvenile male. Look at the typical bar on the adult male on the left.
Rio Catatumbo wildguppy
Here's a strain which is very rare in the aquaristic world, the Rio catatumbo wild guppy. It's endemic to the northern part of the Rio catatumbo close to Venezuela.
I was lucky to have a couple of these fish from an import from Colombia ( F1 from the venezuelan strain) in june 2012. Unfortunately, three males died two days after they came in. Two males and five females remained.
Surinam isadou wild guppy
This year (spring 2012) I got some wild guppies from an acquaintance of mine who went on an expedition trip to Isadou in Surinam. Isadou is an island located in the Brokopondo reservoir. Situated in the north-eastern part of Surinam on the left riverbank of Surinam river.
He was looking for quite different fish than guppies. But he found in a stream overthere lots of these guys and brought a certain amount of these fish along. He called me if I was interested to have some of my own. Had some losses in the beginning but it regained in amount later on... Despite of all, this wild guppy doesn't seem to be that hardy. So, a bit of caution was becoming necessary with these guys.
A juvenile male of the Surinam isadou wildguppy is shown above.
Rio lobo wild guppy
One of the more known wild guppies are the Rio lobo wild guppies. Very hardy fish and also within this strain a range of patterns are occurring.
Although it's a more common type of wild guppy, it's still a "must have guppy" for wild guppy lovers.
The Rio Tefé wild guppies were originally caught by Hariolf Rieger back in 1999 in Brazil.
The Rio Tefé is a tributary of the Amazon river (Solimões section) in Amazonas state in north-western Brazil.
There's really not that much to tell about this specific strain. But from all wild guppy species, this is one of the most known ones and kept by many wild guppy keepers.
Rio Approuague wild guppy
A very interesting type of wildguppy is the Rio approuague wild guppy. Found in the Approuague River in the eastern part of French Guiana and close to Brazil. The Approuague River has a total length of approximately 180 miles (about 270km). This river's area is also known as one of the best locations for survival trips and real trekking.
This wildguppy would also survive in more wild waters for the Approuague river can be pretty rough.
Rio Solimões wild guppy
This type of wildguppy is to be found in the neighbourhood of Fonta Boa in the Rio Solimões in Brasil. Rio Solimões is the Brasilian name and therefore Portuguese, for the Amazon river from the Peruvian border to the junction with the Rio Negro.
The males are slender and pretty colorful as to be seen on these pics. Especially when the males age, they tend to become darker to the tail. More greenish on the side will appear as well.
Mandemba wild guppy
This strain is to be found in Rio Mandemba in Venezuela.
The mandemba wildguppy ain't that colorful but nevertheless an interesting wildguppy. It's less hardy but the more challenge there is to keep and breed them.
Jamaica wild guppy
Of all jamaican wild guppies, I have this particular strain back home. Bright colored and very prolific.
This strain was caught in 2007 and brought in through Germany before it came to me.
Lac du Rorota, Fratigue
Well, this wildguppy is called Lac du Rorota named after the region where it was found. But through the years it's been a real discussion wether the Lac du Rorota is actual the japan blue which were found in waters in Japan. Or that the japan blue from japan originated from the Lac du Rorota. Knowing that wild guppies originated from Central- and South-America and that all current wildtype guppies found in waters around the world were released overthere. And for sure sufficient types evolved in their appearance in other natural waters as well. So, if the question would raise: which guppy would be original; Lac du Rorota or the japan blue? I would say that the Lac du Rorota would've appeared first. For sure, this is a speculation coming from my side. But that's only based on the chronological order. I am aware of it that lots of theories are at hand regarding this topic. Who's really right on this story seems still a bit vague... But it does keep the topic alive in my opinion.
I myself have Lac du Rorota wild guppies swimming around which look a bit different from the average japan blue short tails I have in another tank. The Lac du Rorota which I have overhere seem to be more stretched when it comes to body length in comparison to the average japan blue short tail.
Bifurca wild guppy
This is a wildguppy which is endemic to the same region as the micropoecilia bifurca. It's also imported as a micropoecilia species. In some way the body shape does show similarities to the micropoecilia species but it's determined a wild wingei by professor Schartl in August 2010. Despite of the fact that professor Schartl determined this strain as being a wingei, it doesn't actually have any resemblance to any kind of Poecilia wingei in my opinion. Before this determination it has been considered a Poecilia reticulata. Anyways, I leave this up to each one of you how you like to call this fish.
This is a natural hybrid and to be found in Surinam, Dutch Guyana. First caught fish in August 2005. Also this strain can be kept in freshwater and brackish water.
Venezuelan doublesword wild guppy
In 2012 I got a group of Venezuelan wildguppies donated by Ronald Bosma. It concerned a group of extended double swords. The original group (F0) had been collected by Frans Vermeulen in Venezuela. He's Dutch but moved over to Aruba.
The third recognized order of wild guppies is named Poecilia obscura. Also known as Oropuche guppy. This strain is to be found in the Oropuche river system in North-eastern Trinidad. But also in other river streams like Rio L'Ebranche, Rio Seco, Rio Matura, Rio Quare and Rio La Seiva. The two last mentioned are part of the Oropuche river system.
Most of these Poecilia obscura occur in the shallow parts of the streams and in ditches.
I am keeping two groups, one of the Matura river and Orupuche river (N 10° 43.052’; W 61° 8.871’).
Also with this strain a lot of phenotypes among the males occur. The colors, patterns, fin- and tail shape differ a lot.
The pics above shows males with almost a similar pattern. However, below is shown a collage of how different these phenotypes can be.
St.Ann's wild guppy, Trinidad
The next wildguppy mentioned is the so-called St. Ann's wildguppy from the shallow waters of Trinidad. Don't mix this strain up with the black bar endler. It does look almost similar to the black bar endler but the dorsals are fully colored and the pattern of the tail is different. The swords are also much thinner in lining.
Also a difference between this wildguppy and the black bar endler is that the females have a slight darker edge on all the fins. So, including the tail. Unfortunately the pics below doesn't show it too well. But that's a real difference in comparison to female black bar endlers.
Despite of the fact that the resemblance with the black bar endler is genuine present, I won't mix them in the same tank. For it is a separate strain itself and therefore still very interesting to keep. At some point I think this strain is much more interesting to me than the black bar endler. But that's basically a personal preference.
The ones I've got came from a line that was collected by Philippe Voisin (2011).
In 2014 a group of Rio casanay wildguppies were donated to me. They were given to me becoz' the adult female had died and only an adult male and fry were left. Scared that they wouldn't work out that well, the owner decided to get rid of these fish. I took them home and just put them in a small tank. Basically I just left them in there and I only fed them. Hardly some water changes were done in that tank. Fortunately, those fish did well and the fry grew up beautifully.
Most males have a metallic shine, red markings, peacocks on most likely the back of the body or the shoulder and some filigree pattern on their caudal fin.
To me these are one of the more stunning wild guppies there are.
These wild guppies are to be found in the Rio Casanay in Venezuela.
The cayenne wild guppy is originated from Cayenne river, French Guiana. The line I´m maintaining has it´s origin from a swamp northeastern of Kaw. But there are also specimens to be found in the Cayenne river as stated before.
It's a small wild guppy which has a partial red covered body and some monocles. A slight blue marking at the end towards the caudal fin, A clear caudal fin and some markings in the dorsal fin.
The Isla Margarita wildguppy is originated from La Asuncion, Isla Margaitain Venezuela (coll. Jürgen Mahlke, 2008).
It's not a very bright colored wild guppy but absolutely worthwhile to keep.
There are two varieties of Orangeline wild guppies. This particular strain is to be found in a branch of Rio Morichal, 75km SSO Maturin, Largo Highway 10 in Venezuela.
This type of Orangeline does resemble much more a Poecilia reticulata as his relative described next.
This Orangeline guppy is to be found south of Ciudad Bolivar, 50km east of El Tigre at El Salto, Venezuela.
For years ago this strain was considered being a Micropoecilia strain. Nowadays, it's considered being a Poecilia reticulata. But if I look at the male's features, it does resemble more like a Micropoecilia than a Poecilia reticulata. However, the females are more similar to Poecilia reticulata than Micropoecilia. For sure, it's a speculation coming from my side... But personally I do think that this could be a natural hybrid between Poecilia reticulata and Micropoecilia.
What's also peculiar is that they prefer a lower pH.
The first specimens I've kept was in 2014. Purchased them from Peter and Astrid Raschke.
The Surinam green wildguppy had been found 20km north-west of Paramaribo in Surinam (coll. Harro Hieronimus, 1999).
My first breeding couples came from an auction in Sauerland (Germany) back in 2014.
This Surinam wild guppy is a colorful specimen which doesn't carry that much green on its body despite of the name.
Paramaribo guppy (Poecilia kempkesi)
The Poecilia kempkesi originated from Paramaribo in Surinam. The Poecilia kempkesi is also called Surinam guppy or Paramaribo guppy.
The colony I've started with were purchased at an auction in Sauerland (Germany) back in 2014. The data that goes with this colony is location Anton Drachtenweg, Paramaribo in Surinam (coll. Fred Poeser).
They did very well at my place but somehow they just didn't want to reproduce. It took about 8 months before the first offspring were born.
In spring 2016 I've kept them also outside. Despite of the slow start of spring (with all the lows you can imagine), the juveniles did amazingly well outside. Because of the fact that they were put in a glass cube instead of PE tank and kept on the south side, the temperatures do fluctuate more. Also more algae growth and more coloration of the water is at hand in this situation. Nevertheless, they were doing just fine in there.
Overhere an already adult male coming from the outdoor tank.
There has been a questionnaire wether Poecilia maculatus (Winge) or Poecilia kempkesi is the pure Paramaribo guppy. Research (by Fred Poeser) concluded that Poecilia kempkesi is the correct pure form.
The next pictures (lecture Fred Poeser at the Poecilia Netherlands Meeting, Asperen 2016) shows that Winge's P.maculatus was a crossbreeding with Poecilia reticulata.
Conclusion of Fred Poeser: Poecilia kempkesi with a dot is the pure form and P.maculatus without a dot is a hybrid.
Despite of the dots and the orange or red spot on both sides of the males, the position of the dot(s) can differ and so does some other markings. There are males with some dark marked dorsals but also with clear dorsals. The ones I'm keeping are with a red or orange maculatus blotch on both sides.
Above and below: On September 12th 2020, Fred Poeser brought me a wild molly in the plastic jar that he used to keep the Poecilia kempkesi in while bringing them from Surinam to the Netherlands back in 2005. The initials AD refer to the address location in Paramaribo (Surinam) where they were collected.
He gave it to me with a smile while saying that I had to treasure this jar.
Note: Fred Poeser has visited me in July 2020 and confirmed as well that these are indeed Poecilia Kempkesi with the maculatus blotch. I'd like to mention this in case, someone is doubting the phenotype.
Poecilia reticulata Hortus botanicus VU
In 2014 I've got a group of wildtupe guppies from Brian Twint as a gift. They came from the Hortus botanicus of the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands). They were very bright coloured and consisted of variable phenotypes. Of course, that's not weird for in the pond of that specific greenhouse, several kinds of guppies were released in there throughout the years. And in some way, it did cultivate into a certain colony but the bloodlines were still too diverse to become one new strain. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful and interesting colony to have...
Overhere some pictures of a batch of them...
Poecilia reticulata Hortus botanicus Leiden
In 2015 when I was engaging the AquaHortus2015 exhibition (lasted for 3 weeks) at the Hortus botanicus of the University of Leiden (the Netherlands), I've been catching livebearers (and specifically guppies) by permission. I've caught them in the Victoria pond of the Victoria greenhouse.
In there were mollies, platies, guppies, puffers and even goldfish...
But my focus has been guppies and mainly wildtype guppies. I've caught them together with one of my best friends Paul Vons and also with Rogier van Vught (Supervisor greenhouses). Below a picture of Rogier van Vugt trying to catch some wildtype guppies for me...
Also these guppies were really diverse in their looks. Throughout the years several kinds of guppies and endlers were released into this pond and they've mixed up with eachother. So, a variety of wildtype guppies were the result. In the picture below some guppies were put in some jars.
Above: Overhere some specimens from the Victoria pond...
And overhere some caught fish by me and Paul Vons after two hours of catching fish using some plastic bottles instead of using a net... Yes, two hours for just a couple of guppies... Aren't we the best...???
Poecilia reticulata Baja California
On the second Poecilia meeting in 2016 I was given a group of wild guppies by the name of Baja California by Ronny Vannerom from Belgium. They came from a batch which had been studied by the RU Gent (University of Gent, Belgium).
It concerns a somewhat smaller specimen from the up north Mexico. Markings of each individual male does differ a bit. Also the intensity of the colors do differ. But that could also have to do with dominance between the males.
But what all males do have is a black spot on the shoulder and most have a small peacock at or on the caudal area.
In 2010 the RU Gent (Belgium) did some research on them.
Distributing this strain by the RU Gent is rare and therefore I'm really grateful to have this strain in my collection.
The Gillbach is a tributary to the river Erft in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. This river system receives warm water influx from a power plant which enables the water temperature to stay in a stable condition of 19°C all year round.
Besides guppies also cichlids are to be found in this river system. But in this case I'll focus on the guppies in there.
Gillbach guppies are feral guppies. I'm not even mentioning feral wild guppies explicitly. The guppies that can be found overthere are phenotypically wildtype guppies and specimens that show specific fancy traits (not big tailed but you do see the characteristics of fancy guppies).
I myself keep the wildtype guppies from the Gillback stream. First ones I've ever received were offspring from a batch caught by Peter Mulders back in 2018. I became interested in them when I got to see a whole bunch at Michael Kempkes (author of several aquarium books) place when I visited him back in Fall of 2016 (we had a joined meeting between VDA-AK and Poecilia Netherlands).
As already been mentioned, those Gillbach guppies do not consist of one phenotype but several. The ones I've started with were wildtypes and short tailed. It turned out that these guppies were really prolific and in the beginning most male offspring looked quite similar to the fish I've started this colony with. But after the third generation, more diversity showed up in the male offspring.
Rio Magdalena, Honda (Colombia)
A group of wild guppies coming from a batch of wild caughts (year 2017) was given to me by Fred Poeser. They were simultaneously caught with Poecilia caucana (which was the goal of the expedition in 2017). Friends of Fred Poeser caught them in Colombia. He was given Poecilia caucana by them and it turned out that guppies were in there as well. Both species were derived from the Rio Magdalena. And so these guppies were named after this river.
During one of the meetings of Poecilia Netherlands in 2017, Fred Poeser brought these guppies along and handed them over to me. He told me he had no space left for them and gave them to me for he knew that I'm a serious fan of wild guppies. He was also more interested in the Poecilia caucana than these guppies.