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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Variable Platyfish - Xiphophorus variatus

Non-native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status


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General Description
This tropical aquarium fish is an illegally released pet fish. The native range is southeastern United States, Mexico, and Central America. Hybrids are common where this species occurs with the Green Swordtail. Male hybrids have a short sword.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Variable. However, a livebearer in Montana waters with an orange-red tail fin and a golden dorsal fin is almost certain to be a variable platyfish. The body is typically moss green.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 14

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Suitable natural habitats in Montana are warm springs, ponds, and streams from warm springs. Minimum temperatures 68 degrees F. (Brown 1971).

Food Habits
Feed on almost any living organism of debris of suitable size. Free-floating organisms such as algae, water fleas, and small aquatic insects are taken in spring ponds (Brown 1971).

Reproductive Characteristics
Sexually mature in 3-4 months. Internal fertilizations may produce 5-8 broods/year under favorable conditions (Brown 1971).

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Citation for data on this website:
Variable Platyfish — Xiphophorus variatus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from