Xiphophorus malinche

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Xiphophorus malinche
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family: Poeciliidae
Genus: Xiphophorus
Species: X. malinche
Binomial name
Xiphophorus malinche
Rauchenberger et al., 1990

Xiphophorus malinche, also known as Highland Swordtail, is a live bearing fish in the Poeciliidae family.[1] Its holotypes were found in Mexico.[2] This species is named after La Malinche, an Indian slave who played a role in the Spanish conquest as the interpreter, secretary, and mistress of Hernando Cortes.


It is a species closely related to X. cortezi and X. birchmanni, with one zigzag horizontal stripe, a well-developed reticulum and males with a prominent bump on their head. It has branched caudal fin rays, a distinctive vertical bar pattern and middorsal spotting. Its sword has a dark ventral pigment and is distinctly upturned. It also possesses a well-formed hook on its gonopodium. Its grave spot is well developed; it has yellow carotenoid pigments.

It has melanophore spotting at the nodes of the reticulum. In X. malinche, females have oval pigmentation blotches. Vertical bar patterns of X. malinche males, however, are very irregular. Many of the bars are of uneven thickness and sometimes slanted. This irregularity varies from fish to fish, and from right to left sides of the same fish.


This species exhibits atypical behavior for swordtails of the montezumae or cortezi groups. In other species of these groups, mature males are usually found darting among and underneath rocks. Males (and females) of X. malinche were found in a shallow, sunny, sand-bottomed river under floating aquatic vegetation. It is known to hybridise with Xiphophorus birchmanni.[3]


Rio Claro, Rio Moctezuma drainage, Pánuco River basin, Rio Calnali and Rio Conzintla. Rio Atlapexco drainage and Arroyo Soyatla; Rio Calabozo drainage.


  1. ^ Rauchenberger, Mary, Klaus D. Kallman, and Donald C. Morizot. "Monophyly and geography of the Río Pánuco Basin swordtails (genus Xiphophorus) with descriptions of four new species. American Museum novitates;; no. 2975." (1990).
  2. ^ "Xiphophorus birchmanni". Fish Base. Retrieved 31 Mar 2013. 
  3. ^ Gil G. Rosenthal, Xochitl F. de la Rosa Reyna, Steven Kazianis, Matthew J. Stephens, Donald C. Morizot, Michael J. Ryan, Francisco J. García de León, and R. E. Wood (2003) Dissolution of Sexual Signal Complexes in a Hybrid Zone between the Swordtails Xiphophorus birchmanni and Xiphophorus malinche (Poeciliidae). Copeia: June 2003, Vol. 2003, No. 2, pp. 299-307.

Further reading[edit]

  • Reproductive behaviour: Tudor, M. Scarlett; Morris, Molly R. (2009). "Experience Plays a Role in Female Preference for Symmetry in the Swordtail FishXiphophorus malinche". Ethology 115 (9): 812–822. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.2009.01676.x. ISSN 0179-1613. 
  • Genus information: Kallman, Klaus D.; Kazianis, Steven (2006). "The GenusXiphophorusin Mexico and Central America". Zebrafish 3 (3): 271–285. doi:10.1089/zeb.2006.3.271. ISSN 1545-8547. 

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