Xiphophorus maculatus

Image of Male and Female platys

(Platy, Southern platyfish)




Xiphophorus maculatus

Common name(s)

Platy, Southern platyfish

Main colour(s)

Variable, greenish-brown to red/orange

Body size

Males to 4 cm long, females to 6 cm long




A popular aquarium fish, often brightly coloured, but in the wild they are usually greenish-brown. Other colours or combinations of colours may be present, e.g. red, orange, yellow, blue and several large black spots particularly near the caudal fin, depending on the source population. There is a single dorsal fin and the anal fin in males is modified to form a tubular gonopodium for sperm transfer. The body is more or less laterally compressed. This Central American fish is live bearing, it prefers quiet waters where it is well vegetated. It can tolerate temperature extremes but is restricted to fresh water. It is omnivorous, feeding on worms, crustaceans, insects and plant matter.