Plantagenet Lechmere Guppy

Nicholas Guppy


"Jim", or "Planty", as he was known, was the eldest child of Lechmere and Alice (nee Rostant) Guppy, and was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad on 15th April 1871, at No.1 Wellington Terrace, Queen's Park. Aged 20, in July 1891, with seven other naturalists he was cofounder of The Trinidad Field Naturalists ' Club; and he was a member of the Museum Committee of the Royal Victoria Institute, the forerunner of our museum. He was an early advocate of the biological control of insect pests, which he applied successfully to the sugarcane froghopper.

After retiring from Government service in 1929, for some years he worked independently as an expert and dealer in tropical fish for aquaria, and in 1934 was living in Georgetown, Guyana (then British Guiana), where he is described as the chief animal dealer, collecting for the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the New York Zoological Gardens, among other organisations. He introduced the 'Guppy' fish (named after his father Lechmere Guppy, who 'discovered' it in 1859 when 23 years old) to England (1906), Europe and the United States, where it rapidly became the world's most popular aquarium fish, a status it has maintained ever since.

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