Definition of guppy in US English:



  • A small, livebearing freshwater fish widely kept in aquariums. Native to tropical America, it has been introduced elsewhere to control mosquito larvae.

    Poecilia reticulata, family Poeciliidae

    • ‘Their pet is going to die, the cat is going to eat the guppy and choke, and the cat dies, and then what are you going to do?’
    • ‘How disappointing, then, to find that it's deep under the North Sea (the crater, not Birmingham), and that only the odd curious guppy can enjoy it.’
    • ‘We know of no evidence that the behavior of domestic strains of guppy differs significantly from that of the wild type, and social learning of foraging behavior has been found in both laboratory and wild populations of the guppy.’
    • ‘Receptive females usually show a preference for males with large size, large ornaments, and high courtship activity, as in the guppy.’
    • ‘I've heard of cars being modelled on cheetahs and sharks and birds of prey, but this must be the first to be modelled on a guppy.’
    • ‘This contrasts with guppies, swordtails, and other poeciliids where algae are an important source of nutrition.’
    • ‘The guppy is sexually dichromatic, with males being genetically polymorphic for color patches that vary in hue, chroma, reflectivity, size, number, and location on their body.’
    • ‘They include sharks, guppies, and lungfish to name a few.’
    • ‘Familiarity develops over a period of time; in both the guppy and the stickleback, it develops gradually over approximately 2 weeks.’
    • ‘The guppy is a small freshwater poeciliid fish native to Trinidad and parts of South America, and has been used extensively in laboratory based research, particularly in studies of sexual selection.’
    • ‘For instance, in the internally fertilizing guppy, Poecilia reticulata, multiple mating increases female fitness.’
    • ‘Two studies in the guppy showed directional postcopulatory sexual selection for more colorful males.’
    • ‘Hopkins' character seems to have the cranial capacity of a guppy.’
    • ‘Only recently have desktop computers arrived that can deliver the raw processing muscle of a spider or a guppy (about one billion instructions per second).’
    • ‘This proved to be enough time for the guppy to resume normal behavior in all but one case; this individual was excluded from the data analysis.’
    • ‘Comparative approaches for examining processes of sexual selection have been applied to a variety of systems including spiders, mites, swordtail fish, guppies, frogs, manakins, and house finches.’
    • ‘Many fish lay eggs, but some - including common aquarium fish such as guppies, swordtails, and mollies - retain the eggs inside their bodies until hatching.’
    • ‘Such video techniques have been particularly effective in female mate choice studies in fishes, including guppies, sticklebacks, and swordtails.’
    • ‘The parks will rear mainly guppy and angelfish.’
    • ‘First, we estimated the mortality rate of guppies in a natural low predation environment in comparison with an introduction experiment in which high predation guppies had been introduced into a low predation environment.’


1920s: named after R. J. Lechmere Guppy (1836–1916), a Trinidadian who sent the first specimen to the British Museum.