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Poecilia

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Poecilia

Poecilia sphenops

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Poeciliidae
Sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna)
 
Sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
 
Phylum: Chordata
 
Class: Actinopterygii
 
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
 
Family: Poeciliidae
Garman, 1895
Genera
Alfaro
Aplocheilichthys
Belonesox
Brachyrhaphis
Carlhubbsia
Cnesterodon
Fluviphylax
Gambusia (mosquitofishes)
Girardinus
Heterandria
Heterophallus
Hylopanchax
Hypsopanchax
Lacustricola
Lamprichthys
Limia
Micropanchax
Micropoecilia
Neoheterandria
Pamphorichthys
Pantanodon
Phallichthys
Phalloceros
Phalloptychus
Phallotorynus
Plataplochilus
Poecilia (mollies)
Poeciliopsis
Poropanchax
Priapella
Priapichthys
Procatopus
Pseudopoecilia
Quintana
Scolichthys
Tomeurus
Xenodexia
Xenophallus
Xiphophorus (swordtails, platys)

Poeciliidae is a family of fresh-water fishes which are live-bearing aquarium fish (they give birth to live young). They belong to the order Cyprinodontiformes and include well-known aquarium fish like the guppy, molly, platy, and swordtail.

Live-bearing

Rather than describing the whole family Poeciliidae as "ovoviviparous", it is probably more accurate to say that the family consists of species which are all live-bearers, but that these vary in their reproductive life history: closely allied species within the same clade may show variable maternal provisioning. It is true that many members of the family Poeciliidae are considered to be lecitrophic (meaning that the mother provisions the oocyte with all the resources it needs prior to fertilization, so that the egg is independent of the mother), but others are matrotrophic (literally means "mother feeding": the mother provides the majority of resources to the developing offspring after fertilization).

1 Week Fry of Poecilia reticulata (Guppy)
1 Week Fry of Poecilia reticulata (Guppy)

Members of the genus Poeciliopsis, for example, show variable reproductive life history adaptations. Poeciliopsis monacha, P. lucida, and P. prolifica form part of the same clade within the genus Poeciliopsis. However, their modes of maternal provisioning vary greatly. P. monacha can be considered to be lecitrophic due to the fact that it does not really provide any resources for its offspring after fertilization - the pregnant female is basically a swimming egg sac. P. lucida shows an intermediate level of matrotrophy (this literally means "mother feeding" and involves allocation of the majority of resources to the offspring after fertilization), meaning that to a certain extent the offspring's metabolism can actually affect the mother's metabolism, allowing for increased nutrient exchange. Poeciliopsis prolifica is considered to be highly matrotrophic, and almost all of the nutrients and materials needed for fetal development are supplied to the oocyte after it has been fertilized.

Poeciliopsis elongata, P. turneri, and P. presidionis form another clade which could be considered an outgroup to the P. monacha/P.lucida/P.prolifica clade. These three species are very highly matrotrophic - so much so that in 1947 C. L. Turner described the follicular cells of P. turneri as "pseudo-placenta, pseudo-chorion, and pseudo-allantois".

References

  • "Poeciliidae". FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. October 2004 version. N.p.: FishBase, 2004.
  • Poeciliidae (TSN 165876). Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed on 4 June 2004.

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