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The Redtail Splitfin, or Redtail Goodeid, (Xenotoca eiseni) is a species of goodeid fish from the family Goodeidae and subfamily Goodeinae. Like other members of Goodeinae, the Redtail Splitfin is a livebearer. However, the goodeid mating system differs in several ways from the more common livebearing fish from the family Poeciliidae that includes guppies and swordtails. While no goodeid species is a very popular aquarium fish, the Redtail Splitfin is one of most popular.
The Redtail Splitfin comes from several rivers in the highlands of Mexico, including the Rio San Leonel and Rio Grande de Santiago in Nayarit and the Rio Tamazula in Jalisco. They live in clear mountain streams as well as roadside ditches.
The Redtail Splitfin is a deep-bodied fish, and males have a hump behind the head. The hump gets larger as the males get older. Males’ body color is blue, and the caudal fin (tail) and penduncular area are red or orange. There are a number of color variations, and fish from Nayarit have a bluer body, while fish from San Marco, Jalisco are blotched. Females are more plainly colored Females are generally slightly larger than males. Females grow to 7 centimeters (2.8 inches) while males grow to 6 centimeters (2.4 inches).
Male goodeids like the Redtail Splitfin have a notched anal fin that gives the fish the name “splitfin”, instead of the gonopodium of poeciliids. This notched anal fin, or andropodium, is used to transmit sperm to the female. The female nourishes the unborn young via trophotaeniae, which function like an umbilical cord in mammals.
Females give birth about every 2 months to 10 to 50 fry. The newborn Redtail Splitfin fry are relatively large compared to most newborn livebearer fry, at about 15 millimeters (2/3 of an inch) long.