Guppy is the common name for about 300 different species. These species are fresh water fish found in warm places around the world, and native to central and northern South America and Trinidad. They have become a very popular choice for household or classroom pets because, though they are very colorful and lively, guppies are relatively easy to care for and do not have the long lifespan of some other potential candidates. They can also be attractive for people who are interested in breeding fish because guppies are one of the simpler species to perpetuate in captivity.
On average, guppies live longer in captivity than they do in the wild. In captivity guppies live between three to five years on average. But, because of the large amount of predators the guppy has in its environment, they do not normally last long in the wild. Guppies are prey for many types of fish, birds, and even other guppies.
When they are full grown they are no longer than 3 inches in length. On average the male guppies are about 3/4 inch long and the female guppies are about 1/4 inches long. The male guppies are very colorful and can be almost any color. Female guppies are less colorful.
Guppies are different from many other types of fish because the females do not lay eggs for the males to fertilize. Instead, guppies actually give birth to live young. Mother guppies can become pregnant from several different males during one pregnancy, and after they have given birth, they can become pregnant again within hours. This is one reason they are so attractive to potential fish breeders. The eggs hatch inside of the mother and then are born in about a month. In one birth there are about 100 babies.
Though the guppies are only considered to be a native species in the rivers of central and northern South America and Trinidad, they can also be found in parts of Asia, like Singapore. Singapore has made a business out of creating desirable examples of different guppies and selling them to people all over the world.
An American named Paul Hahnel was the first to bring about the first real fancy-tailed guppy. Currently breeders have worked to breed many more tail types: round tails, spear tails and sword tails. These different varieties are judged in competitions around the world. These contests are judged on tail shapes, color intensity and brightness and the closeness the breed has to the original strain color.
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Emily Holland is a student writer earning a degree in international relations with a minor in Spanish from North Carolina State University. She began writing professionally in 2011, specializing in travel, education, literature and cultural issues. Holland has a certificate in Global Perspective and studied in València, Spain and Antiqua, Guatemala.