Ecology and Evolution of Poeciliid Fishes
edited by Jonathan P. Evans, Andrea Pilastro and Ingo Schlupp
University of Chicago Press, 2011
Cloth: 978-0-226-22274-5 | Electronic: 978-0-226-22276-9


The history of biology is populated by numerous model species or organisms. But few vertebrate groups have aided evolutionary and ecological research more than the live-bearing fishes of the family Poeciliidae. Found throughout tropical and subtropical waters, poeciliids exhibit a fascinating variety of reproductive specializations, including viviparity, matrotrophy, unisexual reproduction, and alternative mating strategies, making them ideal models for research on patterns and processes in ecology, behavior, and evolution.

Ecology and Evolution of Poeciliid Fishes
is a much-needed overview of the scientific potential and understanding of these live-bearing fishes. Chapters by leading researchers take up a wide range of topics, including the evolution of unisexual reproduction, life in extreme environments, life-history evolution, and genetics. Designed to provide a single and highly approachable reference, Ecology and Evolution of Poeciliid Fishes will appeal to students and specialists interested in all aspects of evolutionary ecology.


Jonathan P. Evans is a research fellow at the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Evolutionary Biology. Andrea Pilastro is associate professor of zoology at the University of Padova. Ingo Schlupp is professor of zoology at the University of Oklahoma and adjunct professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas.


“This book is an incredible compilation and contribution on the Poeciliidae, which are among the most studied fishes in the world. The coverage is well organized into twenty-seven relevant and informative chapters by cutting-edge scientists. This work will be eagerly awaited by poeciliid and non-poeciliid researchers. There are many topics that will be of interest to the ichthyological community and other vertebrate biologists, as well.”

— Robert C. Cashner, University of New Orleans

“Ecological and evolutionary study of the poeciliid fishes has exploded over the past two decades, inspired in large part by the 1989 volume edited by Meffe and Snelson. Now, Jonathan P. Evans, Andrea Pilastro, and Ingo Schlupp have brought together insightful syntheses of recent advances in a wide range of topics in poeciliid evolution, ecology, and reproductive biology. The ‘future directions’ sections alone of these chapters will be of immense value in inspiring research in coming decades and should be required reading for beginning researchers.”

— Anne E. Houde, Lake Forest College

“Outstanding. . . . [Ecology and Evolution of Poeciliid Fishes] is an excellent addition to the ichthyology library.”
— L. A. Jawad, Journal of Fish Biology

“An excellent volume. . . . Finding these papers all in one book gives the reader a different perspective and context to the entirety of the wonderful world of these diverse, amazing fishes. Highly recommended.”
— P. Chakrabarty, Choice

“[A]n outstanding compilation of contributions by the leading scientists in poeciliid research.”

— Wilfredo A. Matamoros, Copeia

“[A]n indispensible reference for workers in the field. . . . The editors, individual contributors, and the publisher are to be congratulated for producing an attractive volume that is up to date, pertinent, rich in information, and many of whose chapters clearly delineate productive pathways for future work.”
— Bruce J. Turner, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Quarterly Review of Biology





Part I: Reproductive biology and life history

1. Gonads, genitals, and reproductive biology

2. Matrotrophy

3. Variation and evolution of reproductive strategies

4. Ecological drivers of life-history divergence

5. Evolution of unisexual reproduction

Part II: Evolutionary ecology

6. Evolutionary and plastic responses to resource availability

7. Sensory ecology

8. Poeciliid parasites

9. Community assembly and mode of reproduction: predicting the distribution of livebearing fishes

10. Speciation and hybridization

11. Living in extreme environments

12. Evolutionary conservation biology

Part III: Behavior and cognition

13. Group living

14. Innovation and social learning

15. Cognition

16. Predation risk and decision making in poeciliid prey

Part IV: Sexual selection

17. Precopulatory sexual selection

18. Postcopulatory sexual selection

19. Sexual coercion

20. Information societies: communication networks and sexual selection

21. Genital evolution

Part V: Genetics

22. Genetic variation in natural populations

23. Genetics of male guppy color patterns

24. A primer of sex determination

25. Evolutionary genetics and molecular ecology of the major histocompatibility complex genes

26. Oncogenetics

Part VI: Conclusions

27. Integrative commentary on Ecology and Evolution of Poeciliid Fishes

References cited


Author Index

Taxonomic Index

Subject Index