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Evolutionary ecology

Guppies reach new heights

While hunting for guppies in Sri Lanka, Ranga Jayawickrama discovered a location hosting a guppy population at a high altitude.

Fishing in the pond hosting guppies and a range of native fish species.
Fishing in the pond hosting guppies and a range of native fish species.

Ranga has spent the past summer hunting for guppies in Sri Lanka. In the combat against malaria, guppies have been widely introduced in the country to eat mosquito larvae. It was a surprise to find guppies in a high-altitude pond (1076 m above sea level), in an area where malaria is not occurring. It seems likely that guppies have naturally colonized the pond from a downstream location, despite the relatively cool water (16 °C). In this pond, guppies were accompanied by about 10 species of native fish (barbs). It is an open question how guppy invasion might influence the native cyprinid species.