For female guppies, there’s more to life than making babies. A new study finds that guppies experience menopause just like humans and other animals. The study is the first demonstration of menopause in fish and raises the question of why some female animals live beyond their fertile years at all. It was previously thought that fish don’t experience menopause because they produce eggs throughout their entire lives. Birds and mammals, in contrast, have a finite number of eggs that they are born with.
Guppies typically reproduce about every 30 days and lay eggs approximately 20 times throughout their lives. The researchers found that as female guppies aged, they began to skip litters or even stop reproducing for extended periods of time, effectively ceasing to reproduce after a certain age. In other words, the guppies were going through a fish version of menopause.