Sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna)
Species: P. latipinna
Binomial name: Poecilia latipinna
Common names: Sailfin molly
Poecilia latipinna is an aquarium fish native to southern North America. They have been in New Zealand since the 1960s. In New Zealand Poecilia latipinna occurs in large numbers at the southern end of Lake Taupo, around Tokaanu and Waihi in warm geothermal swamps. Sailfin molly is one of the largest poeciliids in New Zealand with female fish known to reach 120 mm.
Poecilia latipinna common name ‘Sailfin molly’ implies it has a large dorsal fin like a sail. In male fish this can be twice as high as their body. The body of the sailfin molly is essentially oblong. The head is small and dorsally flattened, with a small, upturned mouth. The caudal peduncle is broad and the caudal fin is large, rounded, and sometimes tipped with black. The pelvic fins originate at a point anterior to the dorsal fin.
Poecilia latipinna is a tolerant species, as it can exploit the thin film of oxygen-rich surface water with its upturned mouth, so is able to survive oxygen-depleted habitats.
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