Cichlid Room Companion

RSSNEWS: Section reporting on news on cichlids.

* 19-Jun-2015

New species of Retroculus described New species of Retroculus described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Retroculus from the high Rio Tocantins in the Brazilian Amazon basin has been described in the journal Zootaxa by Maria Isabel Landin, C.R. Moreira & C.A. Figueiredo from the Universities of Sao Paolo and Rio De Janeiro respectively. The new species, R. acherontos, had been originally reported by Oliver Lucanus in the April 2011 issue of Cichlid News Magazine. This species is distinctively different from the three other species in the genus from which it differs by a black blotch in the median portion of the first to seventh dorsal-fin soft rays. It also develops a nuchal hump in specimens of both sexes longer than 150 mm. It also differs in other less obvious characters. The specific name chosen for the new species, acherontos refers to the type locality in Rio de las Almas (souls river) in a cryptic way; Acheron in the Greek mythology is the river that flows to Hades, land of the souls. The new species has a known small distribution around Serra da Mesa Hydroeletric power dam, and it is considered as endangered.

Landim, María Isabel & C.R. Moreira & C.A. Figueiredo. 2015. "Retroculus acherontos, a new species of cichlid fish (Teleostei) from the Rio Tocantins basin". Zootaxa. v. 3973(n. 2), pp. 369-380 (crc06779) (abstract)

* 15-Jun-2015

The ancestor to all Malawi haplochromines The ancestor to all Malawi haplochromines
By Ad Konings

A few days ago a very important paper was published by Genner et al. (2015) who looked at the genetic relationships of haplochromines in- and outside of Lake Malawi using mitochondrial DNA. For a very long time it had been assumed that Astatotilapia calliptera would be the logical ancestor to all Malawi cichlids, as it occurs inside as well as outside the lake, mostly in southern and eastern rivers. However, Genner and colleagues found that comparing the Lake Malawi species flock with a large number of riverine Astatotilapia from various drainage systems that an as yet undescribed species (A. sp. ‘ruaha’) is sister to all Malawi haplochromines, including A. calliptera. They found this ancestral species in the Great Ruaha River which is to the northeast of Lake Malawi. Due to different sediment depositions on the lake bottom it was already known that Lake Malawi was formed starting in the north and expanded towards a southern direction. Genner et al. (2015) make it plausible that the formation of the Livingstone Mountains (Kipengere Range), located along the northeastern shore of the lake, caused the split in the Ruaha drainage system with the southern part becoming Lake Malawi. The Ruaha cichlids, then in a novel environment, i.e. a deep lake, underwent rapid speciation and eventually also produced A. calliptera. This species subsequently invaded the rivers that flowed into the lake and even got isolated in the Ruvuma River which forms the border between Tanzania and Mozambique and has no longer a connection with Lake Malawi. All A. calliptera they tested fell within the Malawi species flock, even an A. calliptera population they found in Lake Chidya which is in the Ruvuma drainage system about 30 km away from the Indian Ocean and almost 600 km in a straight line east of Lake Malawi! Now that they know this ancestral species in the Ruaha they can examine whether the genetic variability of the huge Malawi radiation was already present in the riverine ancestral form or that this came about due to a deep lake environment.

Genner, Martin & B.P. Ngatunga, S. Mzighani, A. Smith, G.F. Turner. 2015. "Geographical ancestry of Lake Malawi's cichlid fish diversity". Biology Letters. v. 11(n. 6), pp. 1-12 (crc06744) (abstract)

* 08-May-2015

A new genus of South American cichlids
By Rico Morgenstern

Felipe Ottoni and José Leonardo Mattos have redescribed the little known, endagered cichlasomatine cichlid Nannacara hoehni Ribeiro, 1918, and have established a new genus, Rondonacara, for this species. This was doubtlessly an overdue step that ends the taxonomic odyssey of this species. A molecular phylogenetic analysis placed the new genus as sister group to Laetacara, from which it is readily distinguished by a unique combination of characters.

Ottoni, Felipe & José Leonardo O. Mattos. 2015. "Phylogenetic position and re-description of the endangered cichlid Nannacara hoehnei, and description of a new genus from Brazilian Cerrado (Teleostei, Cichlidae, Cichlasomatini)". Vertebrate Zoology. v. 65(n. 1), pp. 65-79 (crc06694) (abstract)

* 28-Apr-2015

US president Barak Obama gets a cichlid named on his honor US president Barak Obama gets a cichlid named on his honor
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Melanie Stiassny (American Museum of Natural History) and Elizabeth Alter have described a new Teleogramma species after US president Barak Obama and his wife Michelle Obama; “in recognition of their commitment to science education, development, gender equality, and self-reliance for all peoples of African nations, and their dedication to environmental conservation in Africa and beyond”. The new species, Teleogramma obamaorum, was found in the main channel of the mighty Congo River at the western part of the Pool Malebo in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area of turbulent and deep waters and of high species endemism. T. obamaorum differs from the four known Teleogramma species, among other many traits, by not having a dorsally depressed head and body, not showing sexual dimorphism (inferred not to be necessary in the dark habitat where they live) and having enlarged sensory pores. The new species could only be discovered during an extreme drought in 2011, which made the otherwise invisible deep rocky areas of the river surface. It has not being seeing since.

Stiassny, Melanie & S.E. Alter. 2015. "Phylogenetics of Teleogramma, a riverine clade of African cichlid fishes, with a description of the deepwater molluskivore — Teleogramma obamaorum — from the lower reaches of the middle Congo River". American Museum Novitates. (n. 3831), pp. 1-18 (crc06666) (abstract)

* 19-Mar-2015

Tanganyika Cichlids in their Natural Habitat (3rd edition) is now available Tanganyika Cichlids in their Natural Habitat (3rd edition) is now available
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

The new edition of the most complete treatment of Lake Tanganyikan cichlids is finally available today! The book covers all the 219 known cichlid species in the lake and includes 1,200 pictures taken in natural habitat. Many taxonomic changes for the lake cichlids are included, they are the result of new information, analysis of the latest DNA comparison test and consult with many of the top lake Tanganyikan cichlid specialists around the world. The book is available through this site or directly from CichlidPress.

Konings, Ad. 2015. "Tanganyika Cichlids in their Natural Habitat (3rd edition)". Cichlid Press. pp. 1-412 (crc06624) (abstract)

* 07-Jan-2015

New giant Apistogramma species described New giant Apistogramma species described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Apistogramma kullanderi, the largest known Apistogramma yet, has been described in late 2014 in the journal Ichthiological Exploration of Freshwaters by Henrique R. Varella & Mark H. Sabaj Pérez. The holotype of the new species has a standard length (without tail) of 79.7 mm. This feature alone diagnoses it from the rest of Apistogramma species currently described (second largest being A. steindachneri). Additionally, A. kullanderi is diagnosed by a combination of coloration aspects found in males and females. Males A. kullanderi show an irregular and attractive pattern of dark spots and vermiculations on the cheeks and sides with 10-12 dark stripes. The new species was previously known as Apistogramma sp. ‘gigas’, and was discovered in 2009 during the PIPE-Expedition to the Serra do Cachimbo in the upper Curuá river, Xingú basin, Amazon drainage, and is believed to be endemic to a waterfalls isolated plateau in the Brazilian watershed (Central Brazil), where it inhabits clear to light black waters.

Varella, Henrique Rosa & M.H. Sabaj Pérez. 2014. "A titan among dwarfs: Apistogramma kullanderi, new species (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters. v. 25(n. 3), pp. 243-258 (crc06519) (abstract)

* 28-Dec-2014

Geophagus sp. \'aripuanã’ got a latin name Geophagus sp. 'aripuanã’ got a latin name
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Geophagus sp. 'aripuanã’, first mentioned as a potential new species by Jens Gottwald in 2011 (Datz 64(n. 2), pp. 36-3), has got the official scientific name Geophagus mirabilis in a recently published paper in the Brazilian journal Neotropical Ichthyology. The description is authored by Gabriel C. Deprá, Sven O. Kullander, Carla S. Pavanelli and Weferson J. da Graça. Type locality and distribution of the new species is established in the upper Rio Madeira, Amazon basin, upstream the Dardanelos/Andorinhas falls in the Matto Grosso state in central Brazil. The new species is diagnosed from the rest of the Geophagus species by the presence of 2-6 black spots in a longitudinal row along the middle part of the flanks in specimens larger than 80 mm standard length (leaving out the tail), and by a rich pattern of iridescent blue, round or vermiculate marks on the side of the head. The beautiful (and unique in Geophagus) coloration of the new species has inspired the specific name mirabilis, which translates from Latin as extraordinary, marvelous, admirable. The holotype and 79 paratypes representing the species are stored in several Brazilian universities.

Deprá, Gabriel C & Sven O. Kullander, Carla S. Pavanelli and Weferson J. da Graça. 2014. "A new colorful species of Geophagus (Teleostei: Cichlidae), endemic to the rio Aripuanã in the Amazon basin of Brazil". Neotropical Ichthyology. v. 12(n. 4), pp. 737-746 (crc06517) (abstract)

* 14-Dec-2014

New species of Julidochromis described New species of Julidochromis described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Julidochromis, Julidochromis marksmithi has been described by Warren Burgess in number 15 of the Polish Tanganika Magazyn. The new species has been widely known as Julidochromis sp. 'regani kipili’, it is endemic to the Tanzanian coast of Lake Tanganyika and has a limited distribution. The species is differentiated from the rest of the Julidochromis species by its coloration, with a bright yellow background and three dark horizontal stripes on the sides, the upper one from the nape to about halfway along the back at the dorsal fin base. The species is described to honor Mark Smith, who was instrumental in providing the type material. With this, Julidochromis counts now six different species and Dr. Burgess has named two Tanganyikan cichlids to honor Mark Smith.

Burgess, Warren. 2014. "Julidochromis marksmithi, A New Species of Julidochromis from the Tanzanian Coast of Lake Tanganyika". Tanganika Magazyn. v. 15, pp. 40-49 (crc06491)

Cryptoheros coatepeque junior synonym of C. nigrofasciatus Cryptoheros coatepeque junior synonym of C. nigrofasciatus
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new paper by Caleb D. McMahan and a group of authors has just been published in the journal Copeia. In this paper the taxonomic status of Cryptoheros coatepeque, a cichlid described in 2007 as endemic to Crater Lake Coatepeque in El Salvador is examined. C. coatepeque was described based on morphological differentiations with C. nigrofasciatus, the convict cichlid. The authors were unable to apply the diagnosis given for C. coatepeque to differentiate individuals of Lake Coatepeque, and using molecular and morphological characters found that C. coateque is within the natural variation of C. nigrofasciatus, and hence declare the synonymy of the former.

McCaleb, Ray & W.A. Matamoros, E. Barraza, J. Kutz, & P. Chakrabarty. 2014. "Taxonomic Status of the Lago Coatepeque Endemic Convict Cichlid Amatitlania coatepeque (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Copeia. v. 2014(n. 4), pp. 633-638 (crc06500) (abstract)

* 19-Nov-2014

Professor William Bussing dies in car accident
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

William Albert Bussing Burhaus, 81, professor emeritus of the University of Costa Rica died last Monday (November 17) after suffering a car accident in the pacific coast of Costa Rica, while passenger in a vehicle. Professor Bussing had arrived in Costa Rica in 1960 to research and write his master degree thesis for the University of Southern California. He decided to stay in Costa Rica, where he marred Mirna López Sánchez, also a biologist and professor of the University of Costa Rica. Professor Bussing is better known for his book “Peces de las aguas continentales de Costa Rica” (Freshwater Fishes of Costa Rica). Original news.

* 12-Nov-2014

Revision of the Pelvicachromis taeniatus group Revision of the Pelvicachromis taeniatus group
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A revision of the Pelvicachromis taeniatus species group based mainly on caudal fin coloration and mitochondrial DNA comparisons has been published in the journal Zootaxa. The paper is authored by Anton Lamboj, Daniela Bartel & Emiliano Dell’Ampio. In this revision, P. taeniatus has been restricted to the western populations of its previously recognized distribution, in Nigeria and eastern Benin. The restricted taxon is established as distinct from all congeners by a caudal fin which is yellow or white with black blotches and no margin in its half upper part, and with a black margin with a white to pale bluish submargin in the lower half. A new species, Pelvicachromis drachenfelsi, is described for the population in the Wouri River in Cameroon, diagnosed to have a black margin with a white to pale bluish submargin in the lower half of the male caudal fin, not present in any congener but P. taeniatus. The specific name has been chosen to honor Ernst-Otto von Drachenfels from Germany, friend of the leading author. The name P. kribensis has been revalidated from the synonymy with P. taeniatus for the eastern populations in Cameroon (Dehane, Lobe Massa, Moliwe, Muyuka, Kienke) and is established to differ from P. taeniatus and P. drachenfelsi mainly by a male’s tail coloration without black or white margins or submargins.

Lamboj, Anton & D. Bartel & E. dell'Ampio. 2014. "Revision of the Pelvicachromis taeniatus-group (Perciformes), with revalidation of the taxon Pelvicachromis kribensis (Boulenger, 1911) and description of a new species". Cybium. v. 38(n. 3), pp. 205-222 (crc06434) (abstract)

* 05-Oct-2014

Apistogramma sp ‘papagei’ got an official name Apistogramma sp ‘papagei’ got an official name
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new publication in the online magazine Zootaxa offers the description of the popular Apistogramma sp ‘papagei’ as Apistogramma ortegai Britzke, Oliveira & Kullander, 2014. The new species is named after Professor Hernán Ortega Torres from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos [Lima]. The description, based on a combination on differentiating characters, comprises what had been considered as two closely related species inhabiting together; namely Apistogramma sp. ‘papagei’ and Apistogramma sp. 'pebas'. Albeit the small differences that led to the proposition of the two forms as potentially undescribed species by Ingo Koslowski back in 2000 and 2002, the authors have not found taxonomic differences that in their opinion could justify the proposition of two different species, and have therefore described just one. The new species is endemic to the Amazon drainage in Peru, specifically the upper reaches of the Rio Ampiyacu, from where it is only known.

Britzke, Ricardo & C. Oliveira & S.O. Kullander. 2014. "Apistogramma ortegai (Teleostei: Cichlidae), a new species of cichlid fish from the Ampyiacu River in the Peruvian Amazon basin". Zootaxa. v. 3869(n. 4), pp. 409-419 (crc06425) (abstract)

* 26-Sep-2014

Two new species of Parananochromis described Two new species of Parananochromis described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Two new species of Parananochromis, P. orsorum (Parananochromis sp. 'ntem') and P. elobatus (Parananochromis sp 'sanaga') from Cameroon have been described by Anton Lamboj, elevating the number of Parananochromis species to eight. Both P. elobatus and P. orsorum are distinguished from the rest of Parananochromis species by combinations of characters. The specific name elobatus (without lobes from Latin) was given in reference to the short lappets on the dorsal fin in this species. P. orsorum is described after Rose and Tony Orso (Vernon, USA), who helped the author import a number of new species of cichlids over the years.

Lamboj, Anton. 2014. "Two new species of Parananochromis of Cameroon, Central Africa (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters. v. 25(n. 1), pp. 49-57 (crc06399) (abstract)

* 21-Aug-2014

New riverine haplochromine cichlid described New riverine haplochromine cichlid described
By Rico Morgenstern

A new haplochromine cichlid from the Great Ruaha drainage in Tanzania has been described by Frederic D. B. Schedel, John P. Friel and Ulrich K. Schliewen: Haplochromis vanheusdeni. The new species is named after Hans van Heusden, who has first documented its ecology and behavior. H. vanheusdeni was previously known as “Orthochromss sp. ‘Sonjo’”, but the authors expressly refrained from placing the species within Orthochromis for it does not fit the current diagnosis of that genus. Furthermore, unpublished molecular data suggest that it is not closely related to the type species O. malagaraziensis. Much rather, it forms a lineage of its own within the haplochromine assemblage.

Schedel, Frederic D. B & John P. Friel & Ulrich K. Schliewen. 2014. "Haplochromis vanheusdeni, a new haplochromine cichlid species from the Great Ruaha River drainage, Rufiji basin, Tanzania". Spixiana. v. 37(n. 1), pp. 135-149 (crc06350)

* 20-Aug-2014

New species of Lamprologus described New species of Lamprologus described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species or Lamprologus from the main channel of the lower Congo River in western Africa has been described by Stephanie Tougas & Melanie Stiassny from the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The description, just published in the journal Zootaxa, splits the population of Lamprologus tigripictilis in the lower Congo into two species separated by the Inga rapids. Specimens found in and above the rapids remain L. tigripictilis, while those below the rapids in a stretch of about 100 km are proposed to be renamed Lamprologus markerti, the name given in honor of Jeffrey Markert, who initially suggested the study. The description is based on a diagnosis which includes among a other traits, a slightly smaller number of wider vertical bars than in L. tigripictilis, a reduced number of gill rakers in the first arch and a longer head. The absence of an intestinal loop in L. markerti is also noted. With this description, the species of Lamprologus increase to nine.

Tougas, Stephanie & M.L.J. Stiassny. 2014. "Lamprologus markerti, a new lamprologine cichlid (Teleostei: Cichlidae) endemic to the lower Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, west-central Africa". Zootaxa. v. 3852(n. 3), pp. 391 – 400 (crc06342) (abstract)

* 20-Jul-2014

Farewell Dr. Alex Ploeg Farewell Dr. Alex Ploeg
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Alex Ploeg, dutch fish breeder, wholesaler and ichthyologist responsible for the description of twenty five Crenicichla species, who had been Secretary General of the OFI (Ornamental Fish International) since 2004, has tragically been in the company of his wife Edith, their son Robert and his friend Robin on board of Malaysian airlines flight MH17 shot down in eastern Ukraine airspace last Thursday 17 of July. Alex was much appreciated in the ornamental fish industry where he had a large network of contacts ranging from ministers to fish collectors, with whom he shared his vast knowledge of the ornamental fish industry. Our condolences to his family for this terrible loss.

* 28-Jun-2014

The 18th species of Bujurquina described The 18th species of Bujurquina described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Bujurquina from Ecuador, B. pardus, 18th in the genus and known only from a single remote locality at 220 meters over sea level in the Río Danta in the western Amazon drainage has been recently described in the journal Copeia by Jessica Arbour, Ramiro E. Barriga Salazar and Hernán López-Fernández. The new species is distinguished from all other species of Bujurquina by a pattern of small dark spots arranged in rows along its flanks, whitish hyaline dorsal-fin lappet margins, and a lateral band which reaches the dorsal edge of the caudal peduncle. The new species is closely related to Bujurquina huallagae, also found in the same upper part of the Amazon. The name pardus, meaning leopard in ancient Greek, has been given in reference to the pattern of dark blackish/brown flank spots.

Arbour, Jessica H & R.E. Barriga Salazar & H. López-Fernández. 2014. "A New Species of Bujurquina (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Río Danta, Ecuador, with a Key to the Species in the Genus". Copeia. v. 2014(n. 1), pp. 79-86 (crc06195) (abstract)

* 03-May-2014

New magazin published New magazin published
By Ad Konings

The brothers Mikael and Magnus Karlsson of African Diving Ltd recently published the first volume of a new journal they call “Lakesite Articles”. The first volume contains 24 pages with excellent photographs and first hand observations of cichlids of the genus Lepidiolamprologus in Lake Tanganyika. Together with Sven Kullander they recently published a number of descriptions of new cichlids from that lake, and the new journal can be seen as an extension to the official description. The authors explain their views on “their” new species and discuss the validity of another recently described cichlid, Lepidiolamprologus mimicus, which they suggest could as well be a color variant of L. elongatus, at least concerning the Tanzanian populations. As with all of their previous work, the authors speak with authority on Tanganyika cichlids and illustrate their articles lavishly with outstanding photographs, most of them taken in habitat. The magazine can be obtained via the website, and while you are there check out the amazing video clip of rare Tanganyika cichlids.

Karlsson, Mikael & M. Karlsson. 2013. "Lepidiolamprologus kamambae – A new predatory cichlid from Lake Tanganyika". African Diving Lakesite Articles. v. 1(n. 1), pp. 1-24 (crc06158)

* 22-Apr-2014

Chalinochromis sp. ‘patricki’ described Chalinochromis sp. ‘patricki’ described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Chalinochromis, Chalinochromis cyanophleps Kullander, Karlsson, Karlsson & Norén, 2014, has been described in the journal Zootaxa, in circulation today. The new species was initially recognized as such by Patrick Tawil in 2011, who published his observations in Cichlid News Magazine (v. 20, n. 1, pp. 12-19), and suggested the species could be a natural hybrid of C. sp. ‘bifrenatus’ . Later in 2012, the Karlsson brothers Mikael and Magnus identified the species as new in the journal Ciklidbladet (v. 45, n. 2, pp. 15-22) and provisionally named it Chalinochromis sp. 'blue vein'. Ad Konings in 2013 published in the Cichlid Room Companion his recognition of the species, unaware of the Karlsson publication, and provisionally named it Chalinochromis sp. ‘patricki’. The new description honors the initial proposal naming the fish with a specific epithet that in Greek means ‘blue-veined’, referring to the conspicuous blue stripe below the eye in this species. The new species is limited to a 90 km stretch in the southeastern shore of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, and it is different from the rest of the Chalinochromis species mainly by the coloration pattern (solid brown to dark grey with a conspicuous blue stripe below eye), which makes it very distinctive in this genus.

Kullander, Sven & M. Karlsson, M. Karlsson, M. Norén. 2014. "Chalinochromis cyanophleps, a new species of cichlid fish (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from Lake Tanganyika". Zootaxa. v. 3790 (n. 3): pp. 425–438 (crc06115) (abstract)

* 13-Apr-2014

A new species of Petrochromis described A new species of Petrochromis described
By Patrick Tawil

A new binomial name, Petrochromis horii, is proposed by T. Takahashi and S. Koblmüller for a deep-water Petrochromis caught at Kasenga (Zambia) in Lake Tanganyika. The study includes a large amount of bio-molecular data. The morphometric and meristic data given are sufficient to unambiguously define the new species, especially considering the isognathous jaws of the new species –vs. retrognathous found in other members of the genus (except in P. fasciolatus).

Little information is given about the ecology and behavior of the new species, except that it lives rather deep for a Petrochromis (13-15 m or more) and is found sympatrically with several other members of the genus (P. polyodon, P. trewavasae, P. fasciolatus, P. famula and P. macrognathus). The authors cautiously mention that it might be conspecific with Petrochromis “Flame-tail” or P. “Katete”, seen in the aquarium trade. It is very likely that these populations fit the Petrochromis horii diagnosis. Unfortunately, as they are rather drab they are not collected by exporters or fanciers, except perhaps for Petrochromis “Flame-tail” (in which the tail shows an orange hue).

Another brownish Petrochromis with isognathous jaws is imported from time to time for the aquarium trade, namely Petrochromis sp. ’Kipili brown‘, which originates from the southern Tanzanian coast of the lake. Despite having a darker brown coloration, this later species could be a geographical variant of P. horii, although as noticed by Ad Konings (personal communication), it always shows a lower bar number (7 below the dorsal fin, vs. 8-9 in P. “Flame-tail”).

Additionally, there are two undescribed species which are in my opinion closely related to P. horii: Petrochromis sp. ’gold‘ and P. sp. ’red‘. Despite important differences in adult coloration, all four species are very similar in their ecology and morphology — especially the isognathous snout shape. I have proposed a few years ago to group them in a super-species which I have named the “P. sp. 'gold' super-species”, and which now should be called “P. horii super-species”.

Takahashi, Tetsumi & S. Koblmüller. 2014. "A new species of Petrochromis (Perciformes: Cichlidae) from Lake Tanganyika". Ichthyological Research. 61(3): 252-264 (crc06101) (abstract)