Do Guppies go through Menopause?

A pair of Albino Guppies

Do Guppies go through Menopause?

An article appeared recently at which stated that female guppies do go through menopause just like human beings.

A new study finds that guppies experience menopause just like humans and other animals. The study is the first demonstration of menopause in fish and raises the question of why some female animals live beyond their fertile years at all.

The article suggest that guppies experience menopause and they wonder why the guppies that experience menopause should even exist after that as they have already so called fulfill their duties as guppies to propagate the species.

I think that the scientists are looking too much into evolutionary theory and darwinism. Why can’t they live longer than their reproductive life span? I mean, the female guppies could be fulfilling other roles after their reproductive age and which could impact on the guppy eco system as a whole. These infertile female guppies could be the ones steering away the predators from attacking the younger guppies as first, they are more visible and second they are bigger and faster than the younger ones to allow more chance for escape. As such, their role could have changed from reproducer to one of a defender to the rest of the guppy population.

Anyway, let me share with you my experiences with keeping female guppies that have passed their reproductive prime. I agree with the article that female guppies experience menopause as I have kept female guppies that are more than a year old and have stopped reproducing altogether. I noticed this in the older female guppies that tend to grow larger after they have stopped reproducing.

My only qualm is that these large female guppies keep on eating and eating and not reproduce at all after that (Fish food prices seems to be increasing too these days). I also notice that they grow really huge, horizontally, and their stomachs remain slim even after eating huge amounts of the food that I have given them. I can’t bear to cull these guppies as I appreciate their size and the beauty of these guppies on its own right. Some of my guppy friends are amazed by the size of these females and wonder what I had done to get these guppies to these huge size. Well I told them that these darlings of mine are fed with “Super Growth” food that is specially prepared in my kitchen. I was joking with them as I know for sure from my observation that these guppies have reached the menopausal stage and will usually grow large after reaching this stage.

That is why sometimes, I see some of these huge guppies in a bag with all the other feeder fishes. I guess, guppy farmers too have realized that it doesn’t make any sense to their bottom line by keeping large female guppies that produce no young.

~ Ardy

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  • Wendy

    I don’t have any really great theories, but here’s a couple.

    * Nature can’t just choose a cutoff time for death – Menopause would be one of several biological factors to influence a guppy’s lifespan, and might be offset due to the reduced demands of producing fry.
    * Perhaps in the wild, they DO die off more quickly, due to their increased size and visibility. In an aquarium setting where they’re comfortable, well cared for and pampered, they just hang out and look pretty.
    * I’m guessing that the evolutionary factors actually slightly favor a female that lives in the wild until Menopause. After all, she’s smart enough/quick enough/patterned well enough that she managed to have lots of rounds of fry, therefore more of her genes went into the future breeding pool. The longer they remain fertile, the larger their batches of fry get, as well, so if they lived long enough to reach menopause, they had LOTS of batches, probably a few really big ones. So, even though the menopausal female doesn’t actually play Grandma and watch the babies for Ma, she does have lots of offspring hanging around, reproducing with 1/2 her genetics, so it makes sense those fry also have her survival characteristics.

    That’s all I can come up with for now, I’ll add more if I have any other smart sounding thoughts!

  • Hi Wendy, thanks for the added information. I tend to agree too on your comments. Evolutionary factors and efficient use of resources in the wild does take many forms that we might just take for granted at times.

  • Now that explains a lot, no wonder why our tank was larger consumption of food while the guppies are not growing in numbers at increasing rate..

  • I doubt guppies go thru Menopause

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