Xiphophorus variatus
(Meek 1904)
Family Poeciliidae

Lateral view of variable platyfish
The photo above shows a male variable platyfish, top, and two females. The female platyfish are now part of the Florida Museum ichthyology collection. Middle: UF 238436 Bottom: UF 235559 Florida Museum photo by Zachary Randall

The variable platyfish is a member of the livebearer family. It has a moderately elongate and compressed body. This species has an upturned mouth, and the teeth in both jaws are conical and in a single series. Body coloration is highly variable, ranging from olive-brown on the back and side and silvery-white below, to yellow-orange all over. There are two or more dark zigzag stripes present on the side. Variable platyfish can be found in canals and ditches with little to no flow, often with dense growths of submerged vegetation and soft muddy substrates.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Non-indigenous freshwater
  • Florida Distribution — Peninsula drainages
  • River Drainages — Tampa Bay, the Everglades, Indian River and the St. John’s River
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