VIDEO – Wild-type Variatus Platies, In Situ, But Where?

11 Nov, 2022

Footage uploaded to YouTube in 2010 highlights a population of beautiful, polymorphic Variatus Platies. But is there more to the story?
Footage uploaded to YouTube by Xiphophorus.net in 2010 highlights a population of beautiful, polymorphic Variatus Platies. But is there more to the story?

Every once in a while AMAZONAS staff stumbles across a video that stops us in our tracks. This week, for me, it’s 5 minutes of in-situ, underwater footage showing the male polymorphism of Xiphophorus variatus, with dominant males sporting either yellow or red tails. These wild-type Variatus Platies or “Platyfish” are remarkable & highly attractive.

The footage shows males Xiphopohrus variatus with both yellow and red-orange caudal fins.

A mysterious locale…

However, It’s unclear whether this footage, at a location called “SKHC”, documents a native population located in the Americas, or a feral/introduced population in Hong Kong, as some of the comments suggest.

This stunning male aggressively courts a female, attempting to elicit a mating response.
This stunning male aggressively courts a female, attempting to elicit a mating response.

The video was uploaded back in 2010 by Xiphophorus.net, which sadly appears to no longer exist. Thanks to the amazing project of the Wayback Machine (a.k.a. Archive.org), nothing on the Internet is usually lost. So, you can still head over and sift the archives of Xiphophrus.net over there! (and maybe kick in some financial support for Archive.org if you appreciate what they do!) Of note, I did manage to uncover this beautiful image of these fish that had been preserved in the Archive.

Xiphophorus variatus 'SKHC'. Image retrieved via Archive.org. Image Credit: Xiphophorus.net
Xiphophorus variatus ‘SKHC’, male with yellow dorsal and caudal fin. Image retrieved via Archive.org. Image Credit: Xiphophorus.net

Sadly I couldn’t find any more info on the “location” of “SKHC” even when I managed to dig into the source. Meanwhile, the Internet thinks SKHC is somewhere in Colombia…

There may be clues…

If you pay close attention, you’ll catch glimpses of other fish species in this video. The male Swordtail is rather obvious, but the others are blurry at best.

A male Swordtail, presumably X. helleri, zips in and out of the frame a few times during the video.
This species of silver fish with a black horizontal stripe (upper right) appears several times in the video. Is it a characin or cyprinid?
This angular-bodied fish (lower left) appears reminiscent of a barb, which might lend credence to the idea that these fish are a feral population somewhere in Asia.
Is this a goby resting on the rock at lower left?

Perhaps you’re the AMAZONAS reader who can help us unravel this mysterious location with definitive certainty? Think you can help? Check out these screen captures, watch the video, and share your thoughts!

WATCH Xiphophorus variatus ‘SKHC’ 2010, NOW!

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About the author

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Matt Pedersen

Matt Pedersen is a Sr. Editor and Associate Publisher with Reef To Rainforest Media, LLC & CORAL Magazines, and is a Sr. Editor and Publishing Partner with Aquatic Media Press, LLC & AMAZONAS Magazine. Matt has kept aquariums for 38 years, has worked in most facets of the aquarium trade, is an active aquarist and fish breeder (both marine and freshwater), and was recognized with the 2009 MASNA Award as the MASNA Aquarist of the Year.

3 Comments

  1. Ken
    November 12, 2022

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/3zgX-HbK0Vs

    I found this youtube video, what looks like someone has the SKHC in their home aquarium.
    Hope this is helpful. I would love to have these swimming around in my aquarium.

  2. November 13, 2022

    This platyfish pictured at the bottom looks very similar to x. Variatus ‘La Minzita’.

  3. November 14, 2022

    The black-striped fish doesn’t match any Mexican species, while the barb and goby strongly support an Asian locale for the video footage. Wherever they are located, the platies are obviously doing very well for themselves.

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