any of several species of tropical fish of the genus Mollienesia (sometimes considered Poecilia), in the live-bearer family, Poeciliidae (order Atheriniformes). Hardy and attractive, mollies are popular aquarium fish ranging from about 5 to 13 cm (2 to 5 inches) long. Well-known species include the molly (M. sphenops), which is normally grayish, and the sailfin mollies (M. latipinna and M. velifera), which are shiny and bluish and are noted for the large, showy dorsal fin of the male. Hybrids are also known, including M. formosa, a so-called species that is always female, resulting from a cross between M. sphenops and M. latipinna. There are several colour varieties of mollies, among them the black mollies, which may belong to any of the species mentioned.
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