Mauricio de la Maza, from Monterrey, México, is an aquarist and naturalist, to put it in his own words:
"I suppose that my love for animals and nature must have begun very early in life -if not before- I strongly believe that as my parents took me from the hospital that I was born in, and walked me to the car, the sound of the birds, and the -still back in those days- blue skies of Mexico City with the majestic volcanoes as background must have imprinted in me a strong, sub-conscious impression. As a boy, I always preferred to spend a good morning watching birds, catching fish, frogs and water bugs, or chasing lizards, over wasting my time in front of the TV consuming cartoons.
My journey into fish keeping began early as a boy, back in the mid 70's when I received as a birth-day present from one of my neighbours, whose mother was a Biologist, a colony of wild green sword tails.
I even learned rather early in life the old little tale about the "birds and the bees" over a pair of Betta splendens, as I watched the male build his bubble nest and carry the eggs that had been laid by her partner after such tremendous hug. Since then, I have kept and bred fish intermittently, and since then, I have never ceased to be fascinated by this mysterious and fragile state of being that we simply call life.
I have a degree in Agricultural Engineering, Agronomy and Animal Science, a specialization in Wild Life Management and a Masters degree in Business Administration, but above that, I consider myself a Naturalist, and a privileged and lucky person in the sense that, while life has been at times rather rough, I am married to a wonderful woman who happily puts up with my "eccentricities". Sylvia and I have had the opportunity to travel around the world including magnificent Tanzania, captivating Kenya, well-preserved Costa Rica, and scenic Morocco amongst others. We have lived and travelled Europe, the Americas and many different parts of Mexico.
I am convinced that we humans are an arrogant species. We have miserably failed to value and protect our environment. We have forgotten where the big answers rest, and that if we wish to know anything about ourselves, all we need to do is open our senses look out the window and take a glance at mother-nature. There lie the answers to life!!!".
de la Maza Benignos, Mauricio & M.L. Lozano-Vilano. 2013. "Description of three new species of the genus Herichthys (Perciformes: Cichlidae) from eastern Mexico, with redescription of H. labridens, H. steindachneri, and H. pantostictus". Zootaxa. 3734(2):101–129 (crc05760) (abstract)
de la Maza Benignos, Mauricio & C.P. Ornelas-García, M.L. Lozano-Vilano, M.E. García-Ramírez, I. Doadrio. 2014. "Phylogeographic analysis of genus Herichthys (Perciformes: Cichlidae), with descriptions of Nosferatu new genus and H. tepehua n. sp". Hydrobiologia. 748(1):201–231. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-014-1891-8 (crc06164) (abstract)
de la Maza Benignos, Mauricio & M.L. Lozano-Vilano, M.E. García-Ramírez. 2015. "Response paper: Morphometric article by Mejía et al. 2015 alluding genera Herichthys and Nosferatu displays serious inconsistencies". Neotropical Ichthyology. 13(4):673-676. DOI: 10.1590/1982-0224-20150066 (crc07049) (abstract)