Emeraldking-aquatics livebearers

Móllienísia (Molly)

The genus "Móllienísia" is an old used name. Nowadays, all mollies are listed under the genus "Poecilia". But I'm still a bit old school when it comes to names.
Wild mollies have a wide range in distribution in South- and Central-America. They come in various sizes and coloration.
A misunderstanding with salt in a fishtank when it comes to mollies. For not all wild mollies come from salt water or brackish waters. There are species that just live in freshwater in fee nature. It really depends on what kind of molly we're talking about.

Wild mollies

Liberty molly
A very slender wildform of the molly is the socalled liberty molly. The liberty molly is also known as "Poecilia salvatoris" and "Poecilia gilli". About the name P.gilli... rumors go that P.gilli ain't the same as P.salvatoris. In all these years that I've been keping them, I don't see any differences between those sold as being P.salvatoris and P.gilli. To me they're one and the same strain.
The origin of the liberty molly is a bit vague as well. Besides El Salvador, this molly seems to occur as well in Guatamala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua.
It's a gray based body that can be clear but also spotted. Typical for the males is that they have black, white and red markings in their dorsal and some red in their caudal. Females are able to have the same colouration but less and some females have clear fins. 
They prefer brackish water conditions and depending on the individual fish, it can be dominant or even peaceful in the behaviour. 
They breed easily and after a gestation of 4 - 6 weeks about 10 - 20 fry will be born. Both genders can size up to almost the same size of approx. 7 - 10cm.
It's a beautiful looking molly which for sure worthwhile to keep. But not always suitable with shy fish in one tank.
 
Poecilia caucana
The Poecilia caucana (also known as cauca molly and South american molly) inhabits waterways like drainage system from Darien in Panama, Lago de Maracaibo in Venezuela and the Rio Cauca in Colombia. First described by Steindachner (1880). The subname "Caucana" refers to the Cauca river.
The Poecila caucana belongs to the somewhat smaller mollies. Males reach up to 3 cm and the females up to 6 cm. And the friendliness makes it a good community fish with other friendly fish. But despite of the fact that this may concern a smaller molly, it does need some swimming space. For it's a vivid species.
It inhabits shallow waters with sandy or mud bottoms with vegetation and a slow water current. It's a very hardy species which is able to tolerate a wide range of temperature (18°C - 28°C), salinity and anoxia (lack of oxygen). Further on, it feeds itself mainly with algae, insects and larvae. A real omnivore...
The males do look a bit similar to the males of the Limia tridens with the blue shimmer on their bodies and the yellow/orange dorsal with the small black spot. Although, these come from a different location, they are related to eachother.
 
Poecilia vandepolli
Poecilia vandepolli (also known as Poecilia vanderpolli arubensis) is also a smaller molly species which can be found in brackish and fresh waters of the Netherlands Antilles (also called the Dutch Carribean). And mainly found in waters of Curaçao. First described by Van Lidth de Jeude (1887).
They do fine at somewhat higher temperatures and preferable between 25°C - 29°C.  With their size of max 4,5 cm they are dwarfs. And with their more compact bodyshape, they can be kept in somewhat smaller tanks for they're lacking a torpedo shape. Which tells us that they won't swim in a hyper way.
From experience I do have to say that they will sex out a bit late. With these mollis you hardly see a gravid spot till even none. Which makes it harder to determine the sex when we look at a juvenile specimen. Saying this, it means that initial males will show the feminine bodyshapes and v-shaped anal fin for a long time before the male traits will show up. At almost full size you'll see the difference between both genders.
I've got a number of these mollies donated  (2019) by a fellow breeder who caught these fish back in 2019. He was  very selective in who to give these fish to. I was really fortunate to being offered these fish.
 
 
Poecilia formosa
A unique wild molly species is the Amazon molly (Poecilia formosa / Mollienesia formosa / Limia formosa). I'll explain why this molly is so unique a bit later on. The Poecilia formosa was first described by Girard (1859). This species has got a wide distribution from northeast Mexico till the south of
the state of Texas (from the Rio Grande till to the Nueces river).
This molly species prefers to inhabit slow water like ditches and swamp areas. Certain areas where they also occur is most probably done by man. The hypothesis is that the origin of this molly species starts as a natural hybrid between Poecilia Mexicana and Poecilia latipinna.
Looking at the areas where the Poecilia formosa is an inhabitant, the water temperatures ranges rom 22°C - 28°C. But out of experience I do have to say that they will still do fine when kept at 20°C. But at a lower temperature they'll stop reproducing. The reproduction is where the uniqueness starts. For Poecilia formosa concerns an asexual species. Which means that the species only consists of females. In order to reproduce, they'll be in need for a male of another molly species. Using a male of a related species to establish a pregnancy is callled "parasiting". The reproduction process the Poecilia formosa uses is called "gynogenesis". The male of a different molly species will only deliver the semen. That's the only contribution of the male. The genetic information of the male will be broken down and only the genetic information of the mother will be passed on. This means that all offspring will be female and clones of the mother. In case the genetic information of the male hasn't broken down properly (there's a slight chance that this will happen), the chance that a male offspring will be born is at hand. So, it is possible that a male offspring will be present but it's considered being rare.
Because of the unique way of reproduction, the Poecilia formosa is also used in carcinogenic research.
 
Poecilia mexicana
The Poecilia mexicana (also known as the altantic molly and shortfin molly) is native to both fresh and brackish waters (shallow pools, coastal lagoons and rivers). They occur along the Atlantic slope of Mexico from the Rio Bravo basin into Costa Rica and Honduras. But the Poecilia mexicana has also been introdues elsewhere on this globe by man. 
Phenotypically, there are some differences in coloration depending on the loaction where they are found. And specifically referring to the males in this case. What all adult males do have is the colored seem on the caudal. From experience I just can't say that they're real fast growers. But that may differ from breeder to breeder. Although, they can reach a max of approximately 10 cm - 12 cm, they'll already be sexually mature at approximately 4 cm - 5 cm. In captivity in an average fishtank, most will reach a max of approximately 6 cm - 8cm. It's a beautiful robust and undemanding wild molly species.
Above: An adult male but still needs some coloration. Thaty may take a bit longer. He's still lacking the colored seam in his caudal.
Below: An adult female.
They're omnivores but do have a bigger preference for vegetable food. Althoug, they do eat red mosquito larvae without a problem at my place. Preferable kept at temperatures between 22°C - 28°C. 
Above: (l) male, (r) female. They're not that shy. You can literally take them in the hand.

Fancy mollies

 
Chocolate molly
A rare fancy strain of the mollies is  the chocolate molly also known as choco molly.
It's probably a mutation of the fancy strain "black molly". The true origin of this fancy strain is a bit vague. Assuming that this species is a mutation of the black molly, the chocolate molly is suppose to be also a poecilia sphenops. But anyways, it's a nice specimen of a molly. I myself have got this strain back in 2014 from Peter and Astrid Raschke.
The name chocolate molly refers to the brown body colour. 
It differs per individual specimen wether it's totally brown or not. There are specimens which have a yellow edged tail and or fins. Some are more sand coloured instead of real brown. But those sand coloured ones do reproduce real brown offspring again.
Above: female (left), male (right).
Besides this phenotype, also a lyretail version is available. Some are shown in the pictures below.
Besides the black eyed chocolate maolly, there's also an albino  chocolate version.  These do have red eyes but they're still brown of body color.
Above: Albino lyretail chocolate mollies.
Below: Albino chocolate molly (normal fins).
 
 
Red lyretail mollies
A beautiful fancy molly derived from the Poecilia sphenops is the red molly. I prefer the lyretail version instead of the regular finned one.
These red mollies start off as being blonde as newborns. When they age, they blonde coloration turns slowly into orange and after a while the ornage turns into red. It's fascinating to see how the color development is proceeding.
They're really coral red in phenotype. Totally different than orange.
Above and below: And adult female and youngsters that have started changing from orange to red. Like most livebearers, also overhere the younger fish don't have the same pace in changing color.