Reading: Are fancy guppies (Poeciliareticulata Peters, 1859) invasive?

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Are fancy guppies (Poeciliareticulata Peters, 1859) invasive?

Authors:

C. H. Bandaranayake,

University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya GQ 11600, LK
About C. H.

Department of Zoology and Environmental Management

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W. U. Chandrasekara

University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya GQ 11600, LK
About W. U.

Department of Zoology and Environmental Management

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Abstract

Guppies (Poecilia reticulata Peters 1859) have been introduced to Sri Lanka in the early 1970s to combat the menace of Malaria. Due to their rapid range expansion in natural waterways, guppies are labeled as an ‘invasive species.’ Guppies are also popular in the ornamental fish trade where a wide variety of ornamental guppy varieties with attractive colour and fin patterns have been produced through selective breeding; they are commonly known as ‘fancy guppies’ or ‘saree guppies’. Since there are some concerns over the invasiveness of these fancy guppies into natural water bodies in Sri Lanka, the potential invasiveness of two common fancy guppy varieties with long caudal fins viz. black guppies and yellow guppies, was assessed under laboratory conditions using their specific growth rates (SGR) and critical swimming speeds (Ucrit). Results in the present study showed that the SGR of black guppies (1.0 % g day-1), and yellow guppies (0.99 % g day-1) were significantly lower (p < 0.05) than that of the wild guppies (1.31% g day-1). Further, the Ucrit of the black guppies (23.8 cm s-1), and yellow guppies (26.8 cm s-1) were significantly lower (p < 0.05) than that of the wild guppies (28.8 cm s-1). Since the long caudal fins significantly reduced  the swimming speed (p < 0.05: ANOVA) and hence the SGR of the two fancy guppy varieties, there is strong evidence for an inter-variety competition to occur among the wild and fancy guppies where the latter would be competitively eliminated by the wild guppies in terms of competition owing to their short tail. Therefore, the long caudal fin is a predicament to fancy guppies for both swimming and securing food in the water column. This study also challenges some views of all guppies being categorized as ‘invasive’ and demonstrated that the fancy guppies are unable to compete with their wild counterparts but are confined to ornamental displays in places such as indoor and outdoor fish tanks.

How to Cite: Bandaranayake, C.H. & Chandrasekara, W.U., (2017). Are fancy guppies (Poeciliareticulata Peters, 1859) invasive?. Sri Lanka Journal of Aquatic Sciences. 22(2), pp.117–128. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljas.v22i2.7536
Published on 01 Sep 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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