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Old 11-09-2012, 04:04 PM   #1
Betta man
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Post Endlers livebearers.... Same species as guppy?

I found this on aquaworld.com. It was written by Tony Griffitts, a member of my aquarium club. I decided to copy it down to this thread so that if the site went down, the info would still be here.

Poecilia wingei reticulata
By Tony Griffitts

In 1997 I was searching the internet for a new livebearer I had seen in my local fish store that were not for sale, called an Endler's Livebearer (ELB). I could only find one reference to it on a message board, and no photos existed on the internet. None of the books in my fish book library had photos or a paragraph on the fish.

Luckily for me, through friends in the pet trade, I was able to track down a couple dozen ELBs from someone that had a breeding colony in one of his planted tanks.

I emailed Dr. John Endler and asked him if I were to send him a photo of the fish I had acquired if he could verify if they are the livebearer named after him by aquarium hobbyist. He verified that they were indeed the fish. I emailed John that I was going to write an article about the fish and post it on the internet. I asked him if he could provide me with his story about the fish and that I would include it in the article. After a few emails back and forth a final article was developed about the Endler's Livebearer and posted on the internet with photos for the first time.

Since then, the popularity of Endler's Livebearer has exploded, with multiple web sites dedicated just for the ELB. Some hobbyist since then have made the trip to Laguna de Patos in Venezuela as well as other locations in the area to collect new wild stock. There are now commercial hatcheries breeding ELBs for the aquarium trade, as well as some hybrids. Unfortunately for the aquarium hobbyist, usually only the male ELB is offered for sale through the trade. The good news is, many local aquarium club members have breeding colonies that they are often willing to share with other hobbyists.

Bad Science

In 2005 Fred Poeser, Michael Kempkes and Isaac Isbrucker published their work in Contributions to Zoology for giving ELB separate species status from Poecilia reticulata (guppy). They gave it a new species name (wingei). Their effort was a lot of work for nothing as it did not pass the peer review test to be accepted as new species. Evidence that ELB was indeed a guppy (Poecilia reticulata) had already been posted on the internet at least a year before they published their work.

ELB meets the criteria for being included as a population guppies. ELB do freely interbreed with other guppies. The cross of ELB with other guppies produces viable offspring that are fertile. Because of this fact, they cannot be a different species from P. reticulata. The definition of a species is a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. In 2004 the California Tiger Endler's Livebearer was published on Aquaworld Aquarium's web site. This article outlined how the breed was developed from a cross between a ELB and a guppy. The hybrid was then line bred until the offspring bred true. This would not have been possible if the ELB and guppy were different species.



Endler's Livebearer is a Subspecies of P. reticulata

There are some obvious physical differences between the ELB and other wild guppy populations that do warrant giving the ELB subspecies status of P. reticulata. ELB do have unique coloration in the geographic region for which they are found. Male ELB do have a more angular body, and smaller caudal peduncle than other populations of guppies. Female ELB are typically slightly more slender than other female guppy populations. ELB does meet the definition of subspecies. Here is the definition for subspecies from Merriam-Webster:

A subdivision of a species: as a : a category in biological classification that ranks immediately below a species and designates a population of a particular geographic region genetically distinguishable from other such populations of the same species and capable of interbreeding successfully with them where its range overlaps theirs.
A named subdivision (as a race or variety) of a taxonomic species.
It is of my opinion that the ELB should be named Poecilia reticulata endleri, in recognition of Dr. John Endler, the man who brought this fish to the attention of the world. This would be the correct classification of the Endler's Livebearer.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:04 PM   #2
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I've heard it both ways. That they are just a group of guppies are they are a distant species. That they interbreed does not rule out them being separate species. Where to draw the line between genuses, species, sub species, local populations has always been a source of contention as nature doesn't always fit into a neat boxes. In isolated lakes that were colonized by a single species of fish relatively recently, you are able to see "speciation" in action.

Personally, I think endler's are a guppy, but I'll wait on the genetic testing to finalize my opinion. But I think they are distinct enough to have a separate common name and for people who breed them with reticulata to call the fry guppy/endler's crosses to keep the "pure" endler's separate. Certainly they are a really nice little fish.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:39 PM   #3
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After thinking it through, I think endlers are a different species. That they breed and the fry aren't sterile doesn't mean that they are the same species. Betta mahachai X splendens and some fancy breeding got us the dragon scale which of course is fertile. They are different species, but they still have fertile fry. There are plenty of cichlids which can interbreed and have fertile young. Peacocks spawned with mbunas have fertile fry. If species means that they can interbreed, that would mean that there is no such thing as a hybrid. Correct? I think that endlers should be in the same complex with guppies, but are not the same species.
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Last edited by Betta man; 11-09-2012 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:16 PM   #4
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This would not have been possible if the ELB and guppy were different species.
This statement is false. several species of swords and platies were crossed to get domestic true-breeding strains of platys and swords. They are working on a 'tiger platy" now which likely has input from tiger limia. After a couple dozen generations of mostly culls, a lucky and skilled breeder can get a reasonably stable lineage.
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:12 AM   #5
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there are many species of cichlids , catfish and livebearers that are being crossed...
synodontis angelicus and synodontis eupterus are being crossed.....
one of the issues with the endlers is that people keep polluting the gene pool of the separate speaies and also the distinct endler variations causing original variations to become almost extinct....nobody seems to want to maintain pure strains anymore...
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:14 AM   #6
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I currently have pure wild endlers. A male and a female. My brother has 9 endlers. 6 males and 3 females. I've heard that the wild endler is going extinct, but the local fish shop that bought my brother's fry paid about 75 cents per fish and put them in a guppy tank which we did not like. I am not really trying to breed them, but they're in clean water, so I have hopes that they'll breed.
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:28 PM   #7
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I say they're just guppies.
Guppy breeding is a matter of genetic subtraction. You don't add genes to a line to make a new strain. You chisel away the stuff you don't want. the pure fancy strains we have today were created by removing all the genes which would detract from them.

What happens when you mix, say, pure red and blue moscow guppies? ( for a few generations ) Do you get purples? No. You get feeders. When you mix different strains of guppy together, you wind up re-adding once-removed genes, and the more you do this, the more the fish revert back to their natural wild type.
Endlers are pretty much wild type, but their tribal isolation has resulted in genetic isolation & removal, resulting in fixed strains resembling species. Mixing different strains of endlers together produces what? ( after a few generations )

That's right. Ordinary feeder guppies, indistinguished from the ones you get from mixing fancy guppy strains. I cannot accept that Endlers are a truly separate species.
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:58 PM   #8
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I want them to do gene testing.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:34 PM   #9
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well then i suggest that you go find the ichthyological scientists and demand that they do the genetic testing...simple as that...all you gotta do..
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:07 PM   #10
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The two actually have two different scientific names. Endlers go by Poecilia wingei where regular guppys go by Poecilia reticulata. The difference in the wingei and reticulata are in the Species level of the scientific name. The rest of the levels are identical.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family:
Poeciliidae
Genus: Poecilia
Species: Different

That being said - It is also said that they were given different names for conservation reasons as they are in danger of extinction in the wild, as humans enter their natural habitat, polluting and destroying it. The name Endler is a "pure" bloodline without the selective breeding that regular guppies have undergone to get the designs in color we now have. Similar to the varieties of goldfish all basically coming from carp in the past. Being bread for color and fin and body shape.
Endlers are the "wild" version of this fish. Although now bread in captivity they are typically not messed with genetically.

I hope this clears up some of the clouds surrounding these wonderful fish.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:20 PM   #11
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Right. They were only given this "wingei" name for purely political reasons, which just flies in the face of science. It bugs me to no end.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:04 PM   #12
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Loha, can you point me to any scientists? It might be political reasons that they named them wingei, but I still say, SHOW ME THE GENETICS!!!! Which of course I wouldn't understand, but that's why I have you guys.....
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:29 AM   #13
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This has already been done, and the results are just as argued over as the original question.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:40 AM   #14
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yep...it's been done....and the arguing will continue for years....the scientists are always changing fishes names..
kid....find your own scientist..
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:50 AM   #15
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Much better idea Betta- Study to be the scientist!
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