Is the Endlers Livebearer Really a Guppy?

Is the Endlers Livebearer Really a Guppy?

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Marty has been a tropical fish hobbyist most of his life. He has kept Endlers since February of 2013.

Is the Endler Livebearer Really a Guppy?

Often called Endlers guppies, Endlers Livebearers closely resemble guppies (Poecilia reticulata); in fact, for several years there was quite a bit of controversy over the species.

Even today, many still believed that the Endlers Livebearers are just another variety of guppy.

Genetic Studies Classifying Endlers as Poecilia wingei

Studies concerning whether Endlers are guppies or a distinct and separate species continued for many years.

In 2009, Manfred. K. Meyer and Manfred. Schartl published their findings based on molecular data showing that although this species closely resemble guppies, they are a distinct species of their own, and they have been classified as Poecilia wingei, not Poecilia reticulata or Poecilia Obscura.

What Makes Endlers Different From Guppies

Those who have had the opportunity to keep pure N class Endlers usually report that not only do Endlers have a different body shape and color patterns but also exhibit different behavioral patterns.

Endlers are very active, occupying every level of the tank. Most hobbyists find them to be a pleasure to watch.

Once in a while, a male who is showing off to the females will skillfully swim backward in an effort to attract her attention.

Physical Differences Between Guppies and Endlers

Although at first glance Endlers and wild-type or feeder guppies look similar, there are some distinct differences between them.


Male Endlers have more intense and brighter colors than guppies. The green or orange colors, often metallic in appearance, are especially unique.

Many pure strains of Endlers have small clear dorsal fins. This, however, is not an indication of purity as there are several strains that have colorful dorsal fins. Color in the dorsal fin, as with other Endler traits, can be manipulated using selective breeding techniques.

Some hobbyists believe that white dorsal fins are the sign that the Endler is a hybrid. This is not necessarily true. The pure Lime Green Endler has a white or very light blue dorsal fin.

Fin Size and Length

Fin size and length is another difference between Endlers and guppies.

Guppies often have large flowing fins while Endlers usually have much smaller fins.

Long flowing fins in Endlers are a good indicator that the Endler has been hybridized with a guppy.

Endlers often have a small sword on their caudal (tail) fin. This small sword is often only a coloration that seldom extends much past the caudal fin.

Occasionally, Endlers can develop a very long sword on their caudal fin. Although the fin may grow long, it stays thin. Thicker flowing swords are another indication of hybridization.

Body Shape and Size

Endlers have a thinner body shape than guppies. This is especially apparent where the body meets the tail of the Endler.

Male Endlers are usually smaller than guppies; however, female Endlers can grow as large as female guppies.


The gonopodium is the male sexual organ used to impregnate a female Endler. Endlers have one small hook on their gonopodium while guppies have several hooks.

Do Endlers Eat Their Fry?

There is some information available from breeders saying that Endlers will not eat their fry. Some even think that it’s a way to tell if it’s pure or not.

This is not 100% true. Endler males and young females will seldom eat the fry.

However, large female Endlers have no problem eating the young fry and may even develop an appetite for them.

How to Prevent This

Hobbyists that keep livebearers will often keep a large number of plants and decorations in their aquarium.

This technique also works well when breeding Endlers Livebearers. Not only do the plants and decorations provide a place for the fry to hide from larger Endlers, but they also provide a place for the females to get some rest from the relentless males.

Is My Endler Pure?

Even if an Endler has the shape, size, and coloration, it doesn't mean that it's pure.

The only way to truly be sure your Endler is pure is to do genetic testing. Most people don't have that option. To give you the best chance of getting pure Endlers you should find a breeder that keeps good records and can show you where his Endlers have come from, all the way back to their collection in Venezuela.

© 2021 Marty Andersen

South America is Poecilia wingei natural habitat. First this fish was discovered by Franklyn F. Bond in 1937 in Lagoa dos Patos on the North coast of the continent, on the North of Venezuela.

Unfortunately, this endemic species didn’t attract any interest among the scientists and for some unknown reasons it was considered as an extinct one for a long time.

However, 40 years later this species was discovered one more time by Prof. John Endler, who described it.

We should mention, that still there is no agreement as for Endler’s guppy (Poecilia wingei) and common guppy (Poecilia reticulata) scientific classification.

Some scientists consider that these fishes should be treated as one and the same species due to the fact, that they get fertile offspring after interbreeding these two fishes.

Another fact that supports their point of view is, that the natural habitat of both fishes partially coincides. Nevertheless, nowadays Endler’s guppy and common guppy are still considered to be different species.

What is the most interesting, it’s that despite partial coincidence of their natural habitat, no distant hybridization between these species has occurred.

This can be explained very easily: biotopes where common guppy and Endler’s guppy dwell are different ones. Common guppy prefers relatively strong and chilly water flow and Endler’s one prefers warm and lentic habitats.

Endler’s guppy habitat is quite small, that’s why due to active human activity this species are endangered and are very likely to become extinct.

Endlers Livebearer Photos

Please use this topic to post your Endlers Livebearer photos. I'll leave it stickied so it appears at the top of the posts in this section.

Please use your own photos, and not material from the internet.

While your compliments on the photos are really appreciated, text-only posts will be removed after a while to keep the gallery pictures-only. If there is a discussion you do not want to loose, please start it again in a separate thread.


Here are some shots of my Black Bar Endlers.

Fry (1st is a day or two old, 2nd is 3.5 weeks old)



Poecilia wingeI "Classe N" ( Green flame)

Once again, I got some Endlers.
Quality fish, bad photos.

My first ever Endlers

These guys aren't show quality or anything (I don't intend to breed at this point, so I have all males) but they are still very pretty fish








Endlers in my new 10-gallon planted tank.



(Re)introducing Mouche, Tumbleweed, and Juanico!

Mouche has turned into a semi-colon boy with that unmistakable spot in the middle of his side. Juanico has quite an elongated comma. Tumbleweed is a peacock and very green so far, but he's sitll quite young and could change a lot.

I know, I know, I still need a better camera :b




So hard to get pictures of these guys! I bought these 2 from Petsmart and they were completely gray when I bought them. It was so awesome to see them color up when I came home and put them into the proper tank Can't wait to get some more!


N Class Orchid Endler with fry

N Class Orchid Endlers with extra long swords

N Class Lime Green Endler

Multicolored Tiger Endlers (Guppy/Endler hybrid)

Albino Snake Endler (K Class hybrid)

Albino Snake Endler trio (K Class hybrid)

Gold or Blond Multicolored Tiger Endler

Endler hybrid from my "mix tank"

Another hybrid from my "mix tank"


Tuxedo endler (hybrid), aka HB endler or Black flame endler

Cumana Rainbow endler (wild strain)

I've got way more strains overhere both wild and fancy strains. But this is just to show some.


I actually got rid of all my endlers to make room for a new guppy endlers hybrid I bred.


Lacey D

Lacey D



Here are some pics of my K class Rainbow Endler Hybrids. They throw various color morphs, and I'm having a lot of fun with them.






Well, I'd like to show also some wild and fancy strains of endlers which I'm keeping.


Below: Blonde Yellow top sword (hybrid) ♂ & ♀


Below: Santa maria bleeding heart (hybrid)

Reed M

These are my first live-bearers, mostly just bought for display and not to be bred any time soon.

Can anyone tell me what each of colorations is called? I don't think they're uncommon but pictures for endler IDs are surprisingly hard to find.

Left-yellow with red spots
Right-blotchy orange and black


These are my first live-bearers, mostly just bought for display and not to be bred any time soon.

Can anyone tell me what each of colorations is called? I don't think they're uncommon but pictures for endler IDs are surprisingly hard to find.

Left-yellow with red spots
Right-blotchy orange and black


From left to right:
Blonde endler, ChilI endler and a mix of a tiger hybrid and chilI endler.

Mind that chilI endlers can be red, pink or magenta. Because of the störzbach gene (coming from the guppy influence) that chilI endlers carry, the coloration may become more pale (specifically in combination with magenta and pink) after some generations.









Thanks! I was wondering if he was a Black bar when I purchased lol.

These look awesome, very flashy green for sure, Great work!


Thanks! I was wondering if he was a Black bar when I purchased lol.

These look awesome, very flashy green for sure, Great work!


Considerable amount of time for sure, I imagine quite a long journey for me and my son with these species. gonna need more tank! But an easy excuse for our mts !

What other species do/have you kept?

The history of Endlers has to be one of the most diverse and unfortunate so far to learn about.
Really fascinating though, how Hobbyist's and breeders have molded the Endler and sometimes preserved original strains.
The many diverse endler/guppy mixes out there and more still coming out. Definitely a fun yet busy fishroom fish!
I don't know how long that shelf we have will stay as empty as it is now lol

I appreciate your reply and sharing of knowledge. a lot of ppl seek money out of just good information these days, so a site like this for a hobby like this is 100% needed.

With optimal conditions these fish can live up to two years.

Endler’s livebearers are active, peaceful fish and will not cause problems in a community tank. However, because of their small size they are sometimes bullied by larger fish. For this reason they are best suited to a tank of their own.

Also, these fish will breed with guppies so you won’t be able to keep the species unique unless they are in their own tank.

They are always active, scraping algae of the side of the tank, swimming, exploring, and displaying to each other. Because of this, they are an interesting and fun fish to watch.

My experience with hybrid Endlers

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A few years ago, I was in my local fish store, when I saw an Endler Livebearer (Poecilia wingei) for the first time. This species is related to the common Guppy (Poecilia reticulata), however it is rarely seen in pet stores. After a brief inquiry with the store owner, I learned that there was a local breeder of N-class Endlers that lived nearby who sold several to the store. The only problem was that he wouldn’t sell the store any females. I even had the store owner contact the breeder to see if we could arrange a deal. In my zeal, I offered to pay $10.00 for a purebred female. Still, the breeder wouldn’t budge. He wanted to keep the bloodline all to himself. I had read about this species before, but I had never seen them in person.

I was amazed by their bright metallic colors and lively disposition, so I purchased several males hoping the breeder would eventually sell me a female. I enjoy breeding fish, so I really wanted several pairs. (You know the fish are happy, and you are doing a good job providing for them, if they will breed for you.) It was winter in New England, and I didn’t want to risk buying a pair on line / through the mail. So, I did the next best thing and I hybridized the Endlers with some random female fancy guppies.

The resulting offspring were awesome. There was a great deal of variety, not only in their gene pool, but also in their bright metallic colors and patterns. They displayed what is known as hybrid vigor. The hybrid offspring were growing rapidly, and they were much healthier than the fancy guppies that most of us are familiar with. Fancy guppies have become very inbred due to the fact that specialist breeders select for certain colors and patterns from a narrow group of individuals. As a result, the modern day fancy guppy is a far more delicate creature than the guppies of the past.

I prefer the hybrids. They are healthier and seem to have a longer lifespan. The hybrids are also very active. The male’s courtship displays are nearly constant and provides the tank with a lot of activity. I have spent many hours watching the mating dances put on by the males. The hybrids seem to have a more elaborate dance routine than the common guppy. These fish were new and exciting with an endless variety in their patterns and coloration. I was hooked (pun intended) and I wanted to share my unexpected joy with the world. So, I decided to start filming my fish. I spent dozens of hours capturing footage of my Endler /Guppy hybrids.

I managed to get some really amazing footage. If you would like to view these fish, and their incredible mating displays, I have posted a link to my video below.

The video is a closeup look at the mating behavior of a large group of Endler / Guppy hybrids. It talks a little bit about the mechanics of their mating and reproduction. However, the focus of the video is their beautiful courtship dance known as a sigmoid display. I encourage everyone to watch this short film, and be amazed by the beauty and vigor of these incredible fish.

Watch the video: ENDLER GUPPY VS COMMON GUPPY. Which is better?? DETAILED Comparison