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Endlers Livebearer

Scientific Name: Poecilia (Acanthophacelus) wingei
Family: Poeciliidae, Subfamily Poeciliinae

About the Endlers Livebearer

Species Type: Freshwater Fish
Category: Livebearers

Care Level: Easy. Does well in a slightly more narrow range of water parameters and shouldn't be used to cycle an aquarium. Will eat most prepared foods. May have some specific care requirements in terms of particular water parameters, social behaviors, food items etc.

Origin: Northeast Venezuela, endemic to Campoma and Buena Vista coastal lagoons. The source for the type specimens is a warm freshwater lake with hard, alkaline water on the Paria Peninsula.

Compatibility/Temperament: Peaceful, though females can be territorial and should thus be kept in groups. Given its small size, other small peaceful fish that prefer basic hard water can be combined in larger aquaria (15+ gallons). Should not be kept with guppies as they will cross-breed.


This livebearer closely resembles the common guppy, Poecilia reticulata, and some authors have considered both to be the same species. The two species do hybridize and produce fertile offspring. However, Schories et al. (2009) determined that P. wingei is now unequivocally defined by the molecular phylogeny as a valid species. A third distinct guppy species was described from Trinidad. The three guppy species have been placed in the sub-genus Acanthophacelus that is considered to be generically different from all other taxa in the Poeciliinae subfamily.

Males naturally sport metallic green, orange and black colouration, but numerous hybrids are now available and it is often these that are offered in stores. As noted previously, this species will hybridize with the common guppy, but breeders fear this is diluting the gene pool and such hybridization is discouraged. The two species should therefore not be housed in the same aquarium.

A well-planted aquarium, including floating plants, will allow the beautiful colours of this fish to sparkle and provide hiding places for the females. As mentioned under Compatibility, a group including several females along with some males is advisable. The male is the smaller and more colourful of the two. This species will readily spawn and is very prolific; broods of 5 to 25 fry will be produced every 19 to 23 days depending upon water conditions. The adult fish rarely eat the young. The aquarium must be kept covered as this fish will readily jump.

The common name "Endler's Guppy" honours John Endler who "discovered" the species in 1975, although it was first discovered in 1937 by Franklin Bond. The species is feared to be extinct in the habitat lake in which it was discovered due to pollution from garbage. A second possible site was mentioned by Dr. Endler but he was unable to find it. Schories et al. (2009) document this species occurring in the Cumana region.

It was not until 2005 that the species was scientifically described as a distinct species by F.N. Poeser, M. Kempkes & I.J.H. Isbrucker. The genus name Poecilia comes from the Greek poikilos meaning "with different colours" and the species epithet honours the ichthyologist Dr. Ojvind Winge. Poeser et al. proposed re-establishing the genus name Acanthophacelus, originally erected by Eigenmann in 1907 and subsequently deemed a synonym for Poecilia, as a sub-genus of Poecilia. As mentioned above, Schories et al. (2009) followed this provisional sub-classification for the (now) three guppy species on the basis of generic differences from the other species in the subfamily.


Poeser, Fred N., Michael Kempkes, and Isaac J. H. Isbrucker (2005), "Description of Poecilia (Acanthophacelus) wingei n. sp. from the Paria Peninsula, Venezuela, including notes on Acanthophacelus Eigenmann, 1907 and other subgenera of Poecilia Bloch and Schneider, 1801," Contributions to Zoology, pp. 97-115.

Schories, Susanne, Manfred K. Meyer and Manfred Schartl (2009), "Description of Poecilia (Acanthophacelus) obscura n. sp., (Teleostei: Poeciliidae), a new guppy species from western Trinidad, with remarks on P. wingei and the status of the 'Endler's guppy'," Zootaxa, No. 2226, pp. 35-50.

Endlers Livebearer Diet

Naturally omnivorous, they will accept a variety of prepared foods that should include vegetable-based foods. They have small mouths, so foods should be smaller-sized. Frozen or fresh brine shrimp, bloodworms, and vegetable matter are welcomed.


Males attain 1 inch, females almost 2 inches.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

10 gallons for a group, 5 gallons for a single pair.

Ideal water parameters for Endlers Livebearer

Medium hard to hard (10-35 dGH), basic (pH 7-8), temperature 24-30C/75-86F. As with all livebearers, it must not be maintained in soft, acidic water.

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