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Poecilia butleri Jordan, 1889

Cyprinodontiformes: Poeciliidae: Poeciliinae

Genus Poecilia Bloch & Schneider, 1801

‘Catalog of Fishes’ synonyms


Poecilia butleri Jordan, 1889

original designation

Poecilia sphenops Valenciennes, 1846


Platypoecilus nelsoni Meek, 1904


Vernacular names:


Pacific Molly


Generic name ‘Poecilia’ derives from the Greek word ‘poikilos’ = with different colors; the generic gender is feminine.

Size / Weight:

max. TL 70 mm in males; max. TL 80 mm in females (Riehl & Baensch, 1990: 613). 

Figure 1. Poecilia butleri; adult male, lateral view, immediately after catch, specimen collected 2009-02-05, E-MEX 03-09, El Fortin, Chiapas, Mexico.

Subfamily Poeciliinae


Dark gray colored anal with distal light gray stripes; caudal with multiple distal rows dark gray stripes; flanks light blue, dorsolateral anteriorly brown golden, posteriorly yellowish in males (ME, 2009, pers. obs.)

Sex differentiation:

Sexual dichromatophism; blue yellowish coloration in males, females pale; gonopodium in males (ME, 2009, pers. obs.)


Pacific slope of Mexico to Panama, Central America (Riehl & Baensch, 1990: 613).

E-MEX 03-09, GPS: 13 m asl, N 15º38.895', W 93º22.537', on the road La Central - El Fortin, ca. 2 km before El Fortin, unpaved gravel road, artificial nameless brackish water channel, Pacific slope, Pijijiapan County, Chiapas Province, Mexico (ME, 2009, pers. obs.).


In small groups; coexists with Anableps dowei Gill, 1861, Cichlasoma trimaculatum (Günther, 1867) and Dormitator maculatus (Bloch, 1792) in E-MEX 03-09, brack water channel apparently without permanent connection to the sea, channel L-shaped 500 x 300 m, max. 5 m broad, 80 cm deep, no aquatic vegetation visible, Mangroves; bottom: mud, sand; highly turbid water(28 ºC, 8.1 pH, >1990 µS/cm) (ME, 2009, pers. obs.).  

Herbivorous (Riehl & Baensch, 1990: 613).

Conservation status:

IUCN Red List not evaluated.

There are no protective measures in place.

Aquarium maintenance:

Maintenance in aquaria easy as long as algae are provided.

There is plenty of population known. The population of E-MEX 03-09 El Fortin seems to be a colorful one.


Poecilia butleri E-MEX 03-09 El Fortin
Biotope E-MEX 03-09 El Fortin
Biotope E-MEX 03-09 El Fortin

Figure 2. E-MEX 03-09, El Fortin, Chiapas, Mexico; biotope of Poecilia butleri.

Figure 3. E-MEX 03-09, El Fortin, Chiapas, Mexico; biotope of Poecilia butleri, mangroves.

Poecilia butleri E-MEX 03-09 El Fortin

Figure 4. Poecilia butleri; females; immediately after catch; highly turbid water at biotope E-MEX 03-09, El Fortin, Chiapas, Mexico.

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