Cichlid Room Companion

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News on cichlids

image 24-Nov-2016

New species of Astatotilapia from the Sahara desert New species of Astatotilapia from the Sahara desert
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Astatotilapia, A. tchadensis has been recently described from Lake Boukou, one of the Ounianga Serir lakes in one the very few permanent aquatic ecosystems still existing in the most arid parts of the Sahara desert in Chad, northern Africa. The new species is morphologically and geographically close to A. desfontainii, the type species of the genus, from which it differs in having a lower number of spines in the dorsal fin (XIII–XIV versus to XIV–XVI) and a lower number of lateral line scales (29–30 versus to 31–34), plus a different aspect of the anal fin spots. A tchadensis is distributed in Lake Bouko, Lake Chad and its basin in Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Niger and Nigeria. The specific name tchadensis refers to the country of origin and the fossil Lake Chad basin where the species originates. The description has been authored by Sébastien Trape in the journal Comptes Rendus Biologies.

Trape, Sébastien. 2016. "A new cichlid fish in the Sahara: The Ounianga Serir lakes (Chad), a biodiversity hotspot in the desert". Comptes Rendus Biologies. 339(11-12):529–536. DOI: 10.1016/j.crvi.2016.08.003 (crc07708) (abstract)

image 29-Sep-2016

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

A new species of Apistogramma (number 92 generally accepted as valid) from Bolivia and Brazil has been described by Wolfgang Staeck and Ingo Schindler in the journal Vertebrate Zoology with type locality in rio San Martin (Amazon drainage) in Bolivia. The new species was known as Apistogramma cf staecki "Guaporé" (or A193) and it is in fact very closely related to Apistogramma staecki, from which it is diagnosed by the higher number of vertical stripes on the caudal fin of adult males (11-3 versus 8-9), a lateral band reaching the caudal fin or caudal spot (versus not continuous with caudal spot), short vertical abdominal stripes on the bases of the frontal scales, distinctly produced dorsal-fin lappets (versus only lappets 4 – 6 produced) and a dark marking on its chin (versus no dark mark). Both species are also geographically and probably reproductively isolated. The specific name sororcula derives from Latin meaning “little sister” and refers to the close relationship of the new species with A. staecki.

Staeck, Wolfgang & I. Schindler. 2016. "Apistogramma sororcula, a new dwarf cichlid (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the drainage of the rio Guaporé in Bolivia and Brazil". Vertebrate Zoology. 66(22):141-150 (crc07564) (abstract)

image 15-Sep-2016

A new genus and seven species of Lake Malawi cichlids described A new genus and seven species of Lake Malawi cichlids described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

The description of seven new Lake Malawi mbuna cichlid species with a small distribution and that of a new genus have just appeared published in the journal Zootaxa authored by Shan Li, Ad Konings and Jay Stauffer. The new genus Chindongo, the 14th mbuna genus which in the local vernacular of Malawi means “small, rock-dwelling fish”, is described for what was known as Pseudotropheus sp. ‘elongatus aggressive’ and Pseudotropheus sp. ‘elongatus slab’, now Chindongo bellicosus (meaning fond of war in Latin) and other ten species previously in Pseudotropheus, it is mainly characterized by bi-cuspid frontal teeth in as few as three rows, a small mouth with the upper jaw slightly longer than the lower and a vertical barred pattern without horizontal elements at any stage of development. The other six new species are Cynotilapia chilundu (meaning reef in Chichewa) described for what was provisionally known as Cynotilapia sp. 'elongatus taiwan'; Metriaclima flavicauda (meaning yellow tail in Latin) for what was known as Metriaclima sp. ‘elongatus yellow tail’; Metriaclima usisyae (from Usisya, Malawi) for what was known as Metriaclima sp. ‘elongatus usisya’; Tropheops biriwira (green in Chichewa) for what was known as Tropheops sp. ‘elongatus greenback’; Tropheops kamtambo (blue in Chichewa) for what was known as Tropheops sp. ‘elongatus reef’ and Tropheops kumwera (south in Chichewa) for what was known as Tropheops sp. ‘elongatus boadzulu.

Li, Shan & A.F. Konings, J.R. Stauffer. 2016. "A revision of the Pseudotropheus elongatus species group (Teleostei: Cichlidae) with description of a new genus and seven new species". Zootaxa. 4168(2):1-29. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4168.2.9 (crc07492) (abstract)

image 12-Aug-2016

Two new species of Labeotropheus from Lake Malawi described Two new species of Labeotropheus from Lake Malawi described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new paper has been published proposing the erection of two isolated geographical variants of Labeotropheus from Katale Island and a close-by reef (although the GPS coordinates for both localities are identical) as new species. The criteria offered for this action is supported by the fact that such populations are reproductively isolated, exhibit somewhat different body proportions versus Labeotropheus fuelleborni and L. trewavasae and a different color pattern. Labeotropheus simoneae is named after the author's daughter and is restricted to a reef near Katale Island. It is stated to mainly differ from other Labeotropheus in having orange coloration on the operculum of males and an overlapping but on average slightly shallower body (26.9-30.8% of the standard length versus 26.3-33.4 % for the L. trewavasae examined specimens). Labeotropheus chlorosiglos specific name is derived from the Greek meaning "green-earrings". It is probably restricted to Katale Island and differs mainly from L. trewavasae in having an partly overlapping but on average deeper body (31.9-34.7% of standard length versus 26.3-33.3% in L. trewavasae) and a generally wider space between the eyes (40.6-43.5% of head length vs. 36.0-42.8% in L. fuelleborni and 29.6-40.5% in L. trewavasae). This paper does not recognize the variability of Labeotropheus isolated populations and may open the door for the description of many more populations as new species (as indicated in the text discussion). The morphometric comparisons have just been made against the type material of the nominal species, which is compared to material obtained from a commercial source, leaving out (in agreement with the criteria used) the high variation found in the many known isolated populations of Labeotropheus.

Pauers, Michael J. 2016. "Two new and remarkably similarly colored species of Labeotropheus (Perciformes: Cichlidae) from Lake Malawi, Africa". Copeia. 104(3):628-638. DOI: (crc07407) (abstract)

image 26-Jul-2016

New West African cichlid genus described New West African cichlid genus described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new genus has been described in the journal Zootaxa by Anton Lamboj, Franzisca Trummer & Bian D. Metscher for three riverine cichlids inhabitants of a relatively small area in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and western parts of Liberia, West Africa. The three included species (W. humilis, W. rubrolabiatus and W. signatus) were previously classified in the genus Pelvicachromis, which differ visually from the new Wallaceochromis in having seven or eight vertical dark bars on the flanks, visible in several behavioral situations, versus no such bars in Pelvicachromis. Previous DNA studies (Using eight nuclear and mitochondrial genes) had shown species in Pelvicachromis to be older than Wallaceochromis species (12.8-29.5 mya versus 3.9–14.8 mya), as well as having a separated common (monophyletic) origin. The new genus is named in honor of Alfred Russel Wallace, who developed a theory of evolution by natural selection at the same time than Charles Darwin.

Lamboj, Anton & F. Trummer, B.D. Metscher. 2016. "Wallaceochromis gen. nov, a new chromidotilapiine cichlid genus (Pisces: Perciformes) from West Africa". Zootaxa. 4144(1):124-130. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4144.1.8 (crc07391) (abstract)

image 19-Jul-2016

A new Teleocichla species described A new Teleocichla species described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Teleocichla from the swift waters of the Xingu River in the Amazon river drainage has been recently described by Henrique R. Varella, Jansen Zuanon, Sven Kullander & Hernán López Fernández in the magazine Journal of Fish Biology. The new species, which specific name preta means black in Portuguese, differentiates from the other eight described species in the genus by the overall blackish coloration of the body (darker brown in preservation) that gives it its specific name. Teleocichla petra has also the higher body and is the largest species in the genus, reaching up to 15 cm in total length. The new species comes from an area that has been severely threatened by increased human development. In this area the Belo Monte dam, the world's third largest hydroelectric project now under construction will flow several of the Rio Xingu rapids, where dozens of endemic fish species will likely be devastated.

Varella, Henrique Rosa & J. Zuanon, S.O. Kullander, H. López-Fernández. 2016. "Teleocichla preta, a new species of cichlid from the Rio Xingu Basin in Brazil (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Journal of Fish Biology. 1-19. DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13053 (crc07338) (abstract)

image 19-May-2016

New Aequidens described New Aequidens described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Aequidens has been described from the upper Orinoco and Negro Rivers, as well as the Casiquiare River in Venezuela by Jaime Hernández-Acevedo, J.A. Machado-Allison and C.A. Lasso in the magazine Biota Colombiana. The new species, which was provisionally known as Aequidens sp. 'Uaupes/São Gabriel' and Aequidens cf. pallidus „Sao Gabriel“ appears to be closely related to Aequidens pallidus and distinguishes from this and all Aequidens species by a combination of a continuous mid-lateral band and a mid-lateral blotch that is found above the upper lateral line in the posterior part of the spinous dorsal fin. The specific name superomaculatum refers in Latin to the position of this blotch.

Hernández-Acevedo, Jaime H & J.A. Machado-Allison, C.A. Lasso. 2015. "Aequidens superomaculatum (Teleostei: Cichlidae) una nueva especie del alto Orinoco y Río Negro, Venezuela". Biota Colombiana. 16(2):96-106 (crc07314) (abstract)

image 20-Apr-2016

New Gymnogeophagus described New Gymnogeophagus described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Gymnogeophagus has been described from the lower rio Uruguay basin in Uruguay by Marcelo Loureiro, Matías Zarucki, Luiz R. Malabarba and Iván González-Bergonzoni in the Neotropical Ichthyology digital magazine. The new species had been known with the name Gymnogeophagus sp 'north' in aquarism circles and treated as G. meridionals in several publications in the past. Gymnogeophagus terrapurpura is described on the basis of what appear as minor color differences (common among populations of many cichlids) with G. meridionalis, principally the coloration of the dorsal fin, which consists of diagonal bright blue stripes over a red background and a combination of round, elliptical, and elongated bright blue spots in the soft section, versus whitish light blue round spots over a red background in the whole fin in G. meridionalis. The specific name given terrapurpura references the G.E. Hudson novel “La Tierra Purpúrea”, in which the main character makes a trip through the same region where the new species occurs.

Loureiro, Marcelo & M. Zarucki, L.R. Malabarba, I. González-Bergonzoni. 2016. "A new species of Gymnogeophagus Miranda Ribeiro from Uruguay (Teleostei: Cichliformes)". Neotropical Ichthyology. 14(1):e150082. DOI: 10.1590/1982-0224-20150082 (crc07302) (abstract)

image 07-Jan-2016

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

A new species of Geophagus of the G. brasiliensis species group has been recently described by the Brazilian ichthyologists José L. O. Mattos, Wilson J. E. M. Costa and Alexandre C. A. Santos in the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. The new species, G. diamantensis, is differentiated from the rest of the species of the G. brasiliensis group by the shape of the urohyal bone (a small bone located in the lower part of the head of fishes) which in the new species has a less indented frontal protrusion (called the constrictor); G. diamantensis also has a small dark brown mark just posterior to the pectoral fin and a more slender head. It differs from the holotype of G. itapicuruensis (the only known specimen) by having one less spine in the pectoral fin (14 versus 13) and one more vertebrae (27 versus 28) and from G. obscurus by having a mouth which slightly points down (sub-terminal). The types of the new species appear somewhat more elongated and with a peculiarly longer and more pointed snout than in the mentioned species, which suggest rheophilic (current-loving) habits. G. diamantensis is found in the upper reaches of the Paraguaçu River and is endemic of the Chapada Diamantina high plateau in the Bahia state in north eastern Brazil, which gives the new species its specific name.

Mattos, José L & Wilson J.E.M. Costa, Alexandre C.A. Santos. 2015. "Geophagus diamantinensis, a new species of the G. brasiliensis species group from Chapada Diamantina, north-eastern Brazil (Cichlidae: Geophagini)". Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters. 26(3):209-220 (crc06970) (abstract)

image 23-Dec-2015

Five new Gymnogeophagus described Five new Gymnogeophagus described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Five new species of Gymnogeophagus from Brazil and Uruguay that inhabit the Rio Uruguay and the Rio Negro in the La Plata basin of South America have been described in the Brazilian journal Neotropical Ichthyology by the Brazilian ichthyologists Luis Malabarba, Maria Claudia Malabarba and Roberto Reiss. All the new species are close relatives of Gymnogeophagus gymnogenys and have allopatric (geographically separated) distributions. The new species are:

Gymnogeophagus pseudolabiatus from the Rio Quaraí and its tributaries in the middle Rio Uruguay drainage. The name is given in reference to the well-developed lips similar to those in G. labiatus. It is distinguished among other traits by its presence, with the lower lip with a deep middle notch.

Gymnogeophagus mekinos from the Rio Negro and the coastal rivers of Uruguay and southern Brazil. The name is given in reference to the comparatively elongated body of this species. It is distinguished from all other Gymnogeophagus species by the possession of a conspicuous and oblique dark band from the eye to the anterior border of the head in adult males.

Gymnogeophagus constellatus from the Rio Ijuí and its tributaries in the middle Rio Uruguay basin. The name is given in reference to arrangement of white bright spots in the upper middle area of the flanks. It is distinguished from other Gymnogeophagus species by the possession of a very large mid-lateral spot, where each scale forming the spot usually bears one large white dot.

Gymnogeophagus missioneiro from the Rio Piratini and its tributaries in middle Rio Uruguay basin. The name is given in reference to the area were the Jesuit Missions of the Eighteenth century in southern Brazil and Argentina were distributed, similar to the distribution of this species. It differs from the rest of the species of the genus by a combination of characters, including the absence of an oblique dark band from the eye to the origin of the dorsal fin, the absence of an oblique dark band from the eye to the anterior border of the head in mature males, the unpaired fins colored red and the soft dorsal fin rarely scaled.

Gymnogeophagus lipokareno from the upper portion of the Rio Uruguay drainage. The name is given in reference to the extremely large adipose hump of adult males. It is mainly distinguished from all other Gymnogeophagus by the bright yellow color pattern of the unpaired fins covered with white dots aligned between rays.

With these descriptions, the genus Gymnogeophagus adds to 16 generally accepted described species.

Malabarba, Luis R & M.C. Malabarba, R.E. Reis. 2015. "Descriptions of five new species of the Neotropical cichlid genus Gymnogeophagus Miranda Ribeiro, 1918 (Teleostei: Cichliformes) from the rio Uruguay drainage". Neotropical Ichthyology. 13(4):637-662. DOI: 10.1590/1982-0224-20140188 (crc07024) (abstract)

image 04-Dec-2015

A new species of Ptychochromis described A new species of Ptychochromis described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Ptychochromis from Madagascar, P. mainty, has been described in recent days by Christopher Martinez, Jairo Arroyave and John Sparks in the journal Zootaxa. The new species is established different from its closer relative, P. grandidieri, in subtle details of its coloration, namely “an expansive, continuous (or nearly so), longitudinal black blotch on mid-lateral flank extending from posterior margin of opercle to caudal peduncle” whereas in P. grandidieri there are bars. P. mainty is also established as more elongated than P. grandidieri. The type locality is given as the region of Fort Dauphin, southeastern Madagascar, with no precision. Being Ptychochromis a mainly lacustrine fish, it could be one of the lakes in the area, P. grandidieri (also with no precise type locality) extends to the coastal areas to the north of Fort Dauphin. The specific name mainty is the word for Black in Malagasy, referring to this diagnostic trait and the fact that P. mainty shows a uniform dark pattern in preservation. The new species is indicated to be different from P. sp. ‘Tarantsy’, which was proposed as potentially undescribed by de Patrick de Rham and Jean-Claude Nourissat (de Rham & Nourissat 2004: 47–49) from Lake Taransty.

Martinez, Christopher M & Jairo Arroyave, John S. Sparks. 2015. "A new species of Ptychochromis from southeastern Madagascar (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Zootaxa. 4044(1):79-92. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4044.1.4 (crc06964) (abstract)

image 05-Oct-2015

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

The Crenicichla species in the lower Iguazú River, part of the Paraná/La Plata drainage in Argentina have been studied by Lubomír Piálek and a group of scientists who publish their results in the Argentinian magazine Historia Natural. Five different Crenicichla species (four endemic) have been identified from this area, two of which are described as new; namely Crenicichla tuca and C. tapii. The better known of the new species is perhaps the very attractive C. tuca, which was known as C. sp. ‘botox’ as popularized by Oliver Lucanus. The given specific name tuca derives from the Guaraní language word for toucan (Tucá), in reference to the large lips of this species, allegedly used to seal crevices and capture invertebrates hiding within. The second described species C. tapii, derives its name from the Guaraní word for tapir (Tapirus), which refers to its down-facing mouth and concave head associated with its grazing and semi-herbivorous mode of feeding. The other three syntopic (found living together in that area) species are C. iguassuensis, C. tessay (for which updated diagnosis are also offered) and C. lepidota. The latter species not endemic from the lower Iguazú River and found only distantly related to the other four. It is thus likely that the four endemic Crenicichla species have sympatrically (in the same distribution) evolved from a common ancestor to achieve feeding specialization.

Piálek, Lubomír & K. Dragová, J. Casciotta, A. Almirón, O. Rícan. 2015. "Description of two new species of Crenicichla (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the lower Iguazú River with a taxonomic reappraisal of C. iguassuensis, C. tesay and C. yaha". Historia Natural. 5(2):5-27 (crc06900) (abstract)

image 25-Sep-2015

A new dwarf Crenicichla described A new dwarf Crenicichla described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new dwarf Crenicichla species has been described from the Xingú River (Amazon drainage) in Brazil, the new species C. anamiri was named after the Tuco-Guarani noun Anãmiri, meaning dwarf. Males of this species are known to only reach 6 cm. in length. This species was first reported in Cichlids Yearbook 2 in 1992 by Franz Warzel as Crenicichla sp. cf. regani, after it had been collected by Rainer Harnoss in a small ditch near Altamira, Rio Xingú drainage [Brazil], about 200 km upstream from Souzel. The description by Priscila Madoka M. Ito and & Lúcia H. Rapp Py-Daniel from the National Institute of Amazonian Research [Manaus] appears in the journal Neotropical Ichthyology and offers a diagnosis based on a combined set of characters that differentiate it from the rest of the Crenicichla species, without recognizing any unique trait. It differs from its closest relative C. regani in having a smaller adult size, a shorter snout, a deeper body, and conspicuous markings in the tail. With this, eleven species of Crenicichla are listed from the Rio Xingu basin.

Ito, Priscila Madoka M & L.H.R. Py-Daniel. 2015. "A small new species of Crenicichla Heckel, 1840 from middle rio Xingu, Brazil (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Neotropical Ichthyology. 13(3):471-47. DOI: 10.1590/1982-0224-20140105 (crc06899) (abstract)

image 11-Sep-2015

A new Heros species has been described A new Heros species has been described
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new Heros species for what in recent years has been incorrectly known as Heros severus has been described by Wolfgang Staeck and Ingo Schindler in the journal “Bulletin of Fish Biology”. The new species Heros liberifer differs from all Heros species by a pattern of several horizontal series of bright red dots on the lower half of the body sides (versus no rows of red dots), tiny dark dots on operculum and cheeks in adult males (versus large dots or a vermicular pattern) and other aspects. It differs from its partly sympatric (having the same distribution) species H. severus in several morphological, behavioral and ecological aspects. The new species is a mouth-brooder, from which its specific name liberifer (Children carrier in Latin) was inspired, plus unlike H. severus it is found not only in black water but also in clear and white water, with a higher pH. H. liberifer is described from the Orinoco basin in Venezuela, but it can also be found in the Casiquiare River (that connects the upper Rio Negro and Orinoco basins) and in the middle and upper Rio Negro in Brazil.

Staeck, Wolfgang & I. Schindler. 2015. "Description of a new Heros species (Teleostei, Cichlidae) from the Rio Orinoco drainage and notes on Heros severus Heckel, 1840". Bulletin of Fish Biology. 15(1-2):121-136 (crc06878) (abstract)

image 07-Sep-2015

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

A new South American cichlid species classified in the large genus Crenicichla, with currently around 91 generally accepted species, has been recently described by Sven Kullander and H. R. Varella in the journal Copeia from specimens collected in the upper Rio Negro in Brazil. The new species, C. monicae, was first collected to science by no less than Alfred Russel Wallace between 1850 and 1852. The preserved specimens were lost in a fire but drawings remained. The specific name monicae honors Mónica Toledo-Piza Ragazzo, a Brazilian biologist who compiled and published Russel’s drawings in a book. The new species has apparently never been kept in aquarium and differs from all other Crenicichla species by a distinctive pattern of scattered dark spots on and above lateral lines in one of the sexes.

Kullander, Sven & H.R. Varella. 2015. "Wallace’s pike cichlid gets a name after 160 years: A new species of cichlid fish (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the upper Rio Negro in Brazil". Copeia. 103(3):512-519. DOI: 10.1643/CI-14-169 (crc06795) (abstract)

image 26-Jul-2015

Benthochromis controversy clarified Benthochromis controversy clarified
By Ad Konings

On a recent trip along the southern Tanzanian shores of Lake Tanganyika I was fortunate to encounter a fisherman who had just caught a number of deep-dwelling fish with a gill net. There were not very many cichlids, about 40, and they were almost all Benthochromis horii. Among these 40 fish I spotted one that stood out as being different and when the fisherman handed it to me I realized that the specimen was B. tricoti. I had never seen this species “alive” and years ago I concurred with Tawil (2008) that both B. tricoti and B. horii were the same species. After Andersen (2013) pointed out that indeed three different Benthochromis species exist (the third is B. melanoides) and that all three are regularly caught in deep waters in the southern part of the lake, I began to believe that B. tricoti and B. horii are different. But the doubt was always there. No longer; B. tricoti is rather distinct from the species we have in our aquarium. The male (?) specimen was larger than all the male B. horii in the fisherman’s catch, had a deeper body, and exhibited only two white longitudinal lines on the body while B. horii has three. Even though it was bigger it didn’t show any coloration other than the black markings. I had speculated (Konings 2015) that B. tricoti probably spawns in deep water where breeding colors are only perceived as black and white. Such is the case with all deep water breeders, e.g. Bathybates, Trematocara, etc. The fact that the single B. tricoti was collected in the same net as 40 B. horii makes it unquestionable that these represent two different species.

Konings, Ad. 2015. "Tanganyika Cichlids in their Natural Habitat (3rd edition)". Cichlid Press. 1-412. ISBN: 978-932892-18-5 (crc06624) (abstract)

image 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. 3973(2):369-380. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3973.2.10 (crc06779) (abstract)

image 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. 11(6):1-12. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0232 (crc06744) (abstract)

image 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. 65(1):65-79 (crc06694) (abstract)

image 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. (3831):1-18 (crc06666) (abstract)