Unlike some fish, such as goldfish, where the differences between males and females are quite subtle, male guppies have a very different appearance to female guppies, which makes them almost impossible to confuse with each other.
What do male guppies look like?
Male guppies have big colorful tails and fins and usually some color on their bodies. A huge variety of colors are available, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue or a mix of different colors.
Males are smaller than female guppies. Not just in terms of length (where females can be up to twice as long) but also in terms of how deep or stocky their bodies appear. The females look much bigger and bulkier.
As if the size and color of a male guppy didn’t make it obvious enough. The anal fin of the male is also very different to that of the female. The anal fin is situated just below the tail and – in males – is long, thin and pointed.
What do female guppies look like?
Female guppies are much less colorful than males. Females usually have pale gray or silver bodies and equally drab fins. A pale color such as a light yellow is about as much coloration as you are likely to see in a female guppy.
As previously mentioned, females are also much larger than male guppies. This difference in size can be seen from a very young age.
Unlike the male anal fin, which is long and pointed, the female anal fin is a triangular shape. Also, female guppies often have a dark spot just above the anal fin. This is called the gravid spot and is visible whenever a female guppy is pregnant. As female guppies are almost always pregnant, this spot is usually visible. The size and darkness of the spot indicates how heavily pregnant the guppy is, as the spot grows larger and darker as the guppy gets closer to giving birth.
The picture above shows a female guppy.
So how do you tell a male guppy from a female guppy?
To tell a male guppy from a female guppy, you should look for the following signs:
- Color: Is the fish very colorful? If so, this suggests it is male. Bland colors suggest a female.
- Size: Is the fish quite large (over an inch long) with a heavy-set body? This suggests a female. Males are smaller and more slender.
- Anal fin: Is the anal fin long and pointed? This means that the guppy is male. Females have more fanned-out, triangular anal fins.
- Gravid spot: Is there a dark spot just above the anal fin? Only pregnant females have this spot. So if you see a gravid spot, you know the guppy is definitely female.
Now that you know how to tell the difference between male and female guppies, why not check out this post on how many male guppies you should keep for each female?
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