Cichlid Room Companion

RSSNEWS: Section reporting on news on cichlids.

* 11-Apr-2014

New description of Neolamprologus New description of Neolamprologus
By Ad Konings

Even after many dives around the islands near Kipili, Tanzania, I hadn’t realized that in fact there appears to be two different furcifer-like cichlids present. The recent publication by Kullander et al. (2014) describes a new species that at first sight resembles N. furcifer, and is virtually indistinguishable from that species found all around the lake, but shares the same habitat with N. furcifer at (at least) Ulwile Island. Probably through character displacement the local N. furcifer population at the islands is characterized by a tail fin that has rounded lobes while that of the new species, N. timidus, is forked with long extensions. The tail of N. furcifer at all other areas in the lake is forked (hence its name, which means fork-bearer) and that was the reason divers never realized, when they saw N. timidus at the islands that this was a different species. The observations of the Karlsson brothers (they are co-authors on the paper) clearly state that they found pairs of N. timidus sometimes share the same rocky overhang with those of N. furcifer at Ulwile. This makes it unquestionably certain that N. timidus is a true species regardless of what origin it may have. The description gives a few characters in which they differ from N. furcifer and for me the simplest appears the shape of the pelvic fin. In N. timidus the first soft ray of the pelvic is the longest while in N. furcifer it is the second (or third) ray which gives the fin a more rounded appeal. The pelvic fin of N. timidus appears as a sharp-pointed triangle. There are other differences as you can read in the profile but the shape of the pelvic fin I found the most consistent when evaluating my photos. The paper also uses mitochondrial DNA probes to establish the notion that N. timidus and N. furcifer are not related genetically, but I hope that in the future taxonomists refrain from using this already outdated method of mtDNA phylogenies as they shed no new light on the specific status of an organism and at best may give an indication of the age of the particular gene(s) under investigation.

Kullander, Sven & Michael Norén, Mikael Karlsson & Magnus Karlsson. 2014. "Description of Neolamprologus timidus, new species, and review of N. furcifer from Lake Tanganyika (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters. v. 24(n. 4), pp. 301 - 328 (crc06100) (abstract)

* 24-Feb-2014

New Apistogramma species described, A. helkeri New Apistogramma species described, A. helkeri
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new Apistogramma species, A. helkeri, the 85th arguably valid Apistogramma species (of 97 formal descriptions) has been recently described by Ingo Schindler and Wolfgang Staeck from the Orinoco Shield in Venezuela (Amazonas state), in the drainage of the Orinoco River. The new species is most similar to Apistogramma hongsloi Kullander, 1979, from which it differs by its coloration and the shape of its dorsal fin. It can be distinguished from all the other described Apistogramma species by a combination of characters. The new species is named for Oliver Helker, who collected and promoted the new species. A. helkeri is described based on two individuals, a weak base for a new species definition but according to the authors not so uncommon in taxonomy, as 19% of all vertebrates are only known for one specimen and 35% of the species have just been collected once. Clearly, more research on this species is necessary but both the authors have a wide and solid knowledge on Apistogramma taxonomy, groups and distribution and so confirmation is a likely event.

Schindler, Ingo & W. Staeck. 2013. "Description of Apistogramma helkeri sp. n., a new geophagine dwarf cichlid (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the lower río Cuao (Orinoco drainage) in Venezuela". Vertebrate Zoology. v. 63(n. 3), pp. 301-306 (crc06068) (abstract)

* 27-Dec-2013

Ptychochromis Insolitus re-discovered in Madagascar Ptychochromis Insolitus re-discovered in Madagascar
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

After setting up a urgent search for a female of the Mangarahara cichlid, Ptychochromis Insolitus in May, 2013, aquarists of the Zoological Society of London at the London Zoo, who kept the two left individuals of the species believed alive, two males, were able to obtain information right from Madagascar that eventually led them to and exploratory expedition that after several frustrating days amazingly produced the collection of 18 more wild individuals, now secured in a private aquaculture facility in Madagascar . The fish were found in a remote location of the natural habitat, which nowadays has been almost completely destroyed by deforestation and intensive agricultural use of the terrain. The news was reported by on December 20.

Anonymous. 2013. "Conservation hail mary works: Mate for near-extinct fish found!". pp. (crc05956) (abstract)

* 06-Nov-2013

Two new Amphilophus species Two new Amphilophus species
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Two new species of Amphilophus have been described by Hans Recknagel, H. Kusche, K.R. Elmer & A. Meyer from the crater lakes of Nicaragua in the San Juan River basin. The adaptation of an Ancient species (Amphilophus citrinellus) to the now isolated lakes has recently been a major topic of research after it was demonstrated that speciation could not only occur in allopatry (species geographic separation) but also in sympatry (a new species derives from another in the same location). At this point, 13 species of Amphilophus have been recognized from the Nicaraguan lakes. Seven of them (five endemic) from the small crater Lake Apoyo. Four endemic species are recognized from Lake Xiloá, one of them, Amphilophus viridis, is described in this paper. Two species are now recognized from the Asososca lagoon at Managua; A. citrinellus and A. tolteca, the latter endemic to this lake and also described in this paper. Yet more species of Amphilophus are expected to be recognized scientifically from the fascinating lakes of Nicaragua.

Recknagel, Hans & H. Kusche, K.R. Elmer & A. Meyer. 2013. "Two new endemic species in the Midas cichlid species complex from Nicaraguan crater lakes: Amphilophus tolteca and Amphilophus viridis (Perciformes, Cichlidae)". Aqua: International Journal of Ichthyology. v. 19(n. 4), pp. 207-224 (crc05757) (abstract)

* 02-Nov-2013

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

A new species of Geophagus from Guyana, Geophagus crocatus has been described by Frances E. Hauser & Hernán López-Fernández from the upper Berbice river in Guyana. The species is diagnosed from other Geophagus in the Geophagus surinamensis group by basically two color pattern features. The presence of an incomplete suborbital stripe and the number of vertical bars on the flank, six in the new species, with two of them (number 2 and 3) converging at the base of the dorsal fin. The specific name crocatus refers to the saffron yellow coloration present in the operculum of live specimens. The species is only known from the Berbice river.

Hauser, Frances E & H. López-Hernández. 2013. "Geophagus crocatus, a new species of geophagine cichlid from the Berbice River, Guyana, South America (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Zootaxa. v. 3731(n. 2), pp. 279 – 286 (crc05756) (abstract)

* 23-Oct-2013

New species of Chalinochromis New species of Chalinochromis
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Chalinochromis has been identified from Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania by Ad Konings, it was previously confused with Chalinochromis sp. 'bifrenatus' but suspected to be a new species by Patrick Tawil. It is provisionally named Chalinochromis sp. 'patricki'. The reasons for the identification of this form as undescribed are expressed in the referenced article.

Konings, Ad. 2013. "A different Chalinochromis". The Cichlid Room Companion (crc05752) (abstract)

* 17-Oct-2013

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

The description of a new Crenicichla species, C. taikyra, the fifteen Crenicichla described from the Paraná River basin, second largest drainage in South America, has been published in the journal Zootaxa by Jorge Casiotta and five junior authors. The new Crenicichla, 124th to be described for the genus (with about 90 of those generally considered valid) is diagnosed from all other Crenicichla (except C. jurubi, C. semifasciata, and C. yaha) by possessing a stout lower pharyngeal tooth plate with molariform teeth, A combination of traits allows to distinguish it from the remaining three species, for which C. yaha, another Paraná species, is most closely related. The give name taikyra derives from the Guarani language and means thick tooth.

Casciotta, Jorge & A. Almirón, D. Aichino, S. Gómez, L. Piálek & O. Říčan. 2013. "Crenicichla taikyra (Teleostei: Cichlidae), a new species of pike cichlid from the middle río Paraná, Argentina". Zootaxa. v. 3721(n. 4), pp. 379 – 386 (crc05740) (abstract)

New iBook by Ad Konings! New iBook by Ad Konings!
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new Cichlid Press iBook by Ad Konings about the 218 cichlid species that occur in Lake Malawi National Park in Malawi has been published and is now available for all people with an iPad at the iTunes Apple Store. Each cichlid species covered is represented by photographs of both male and female for easy recognition, but also detailed characters are given to distinguish between the various forms that look alike. Almost all photos were taken in the lake, and the information given is based on the author’s observations—over a period of more than 30 years.

Konings, Ad. 2013. "The Cichlids of Lake Malawi National Park". Cichlid Press. pp. 1-327 (crc05741) (abstract)

* 08-Oct-2013

The Murago form of Tropheus moori has been rediscovered by Ad Konings The Murago form of Tropheus moori has been rediscovered by Ad Konings
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Some years ago, Magnus and Mikael Karlsson, of African Diving Ltd., discovered in Lake Tanganyika what has been the most elusive and one of the most beautiful varieties of Tropheus moorii, namely the Tanzania Murago. The origin of this morph had been a well-kept secret since. A few days ago, because of the extremely low water level in Lake Tanganyika due to lack of rains, Ad Konings was able to spot an otherwise sunken reef just above the surface off the coast of Tanzania. After exploring it, the Tanzania Murago Tropheus was found and photographed underwater. Due to the small size of the habitat and of the Tropheus population there dwelling, and hence its vulnerability, the precise locality will remain undisclosed.

* 01-Oct-2013

Yet another species of Australoheros Yet another species of Australoheros
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Yet another species of Australoheros, A. sanguineus has been described by the Brazilian ichthyologist Felipe Ottoni from the small coastal rio Cubatão in the Santa Catarina state in southern Brazil. The new species is diagnosed as to posses a conspicuous rounded caudal-fin base; two blood red regions on the corners of caudal-fin posterior margin, that give the fish its specific name; absence of conspicuous metallic blotches on anal-fin base; absence of a red pigmented line on dorsal-fin margin; presence of one conspicuous blue iridescence bar on dorsal-margin and other apparently less important meristic traits. With this new species we have 29 that are currently not considered in synonymy.

Ottoni, Felipe. 2013. "Australoheros sanguineus sp. n. – a new cichlid species from the rio Cubatão basin, southern Brazil (Cichlidae: Heroini)". Vertebrate Zoology. v. 63(n. 2), pp. 161 – 169 (crc05736) (abstract)

* 30-Sep-2013

New Apistogramma species from Ecuador New Apistogramma species from Ecuador
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A description of new species of Apistogramma, A. aguarico, has been published in the magazine Vertebrate Zoology. The new species is described from the Lagartococha River in the northeastern Ecuador Amazon River basin. The species was spotted by the author Uwe Römer during a visit in 2006 to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, while examining the ichthyology collection. The specific name aguarico refers to the type locality area, being situated 25 km upstream the Aguarico river (tributary of the Amazon basin). The species is established to belong to the Apistogramma regani species group and although it does not apparently owns any unique characteristic, it differentiates from all Apistogramma species by a combination of characters that include a clear truncate caudal fin without markings, two to three fragmentary rows of distinct oval abdominal spots and both lobes with filamentous streamers in the largest specimens. With this new species, the genus Apistogramma reaches 84 generally accepted described species.

Römer, Uwe & I. Hahn. 2013. "Apistogramma aguarico sp. n.: A new species of geophagine cichlid fish (Teleostei: Perciformes) from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian río Napo system". Vertebrate Zoology. v. 63(n. 2), pp. 171-181 (crc05735) (abstract)

* 02-Aug-2013

Pelvicachromis sp. affin. subocellatus finally gets a name Pelvicachromis sp. affin. subocellatus finally gets a name
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Pelvicachromis silviae has been described by Anton Lamboj as the official name for Pelvicachromis sp. affin. Subocellatus. The provisional name has its origin as far back as 1968 by Thys van den Audenaerde. It had to wait a long time to get an official name. The beautiful name silviae is given by Anton to honor his wife Silvia, who apparently has been more than patient with him in regards to all of his fish trips and hard working habits. The type locality was stated in the Niger Delta at Ughelli [Nigeria]. It had always been a mystery where exactly this fish came from. An extensive diagnosis against all Pelvicachromis species is offered, from which Pelvicachromis silviae differs in combinations of traits.

Lamboj, Anton. 2013. "A new dwarf cichlid (Perciformes) from Nigeria". Cybium. v. 37(n. 3), pp. 149-157 (crc05472) (abstract)

* 01-Aug-2013

A new Krobia species from Guyana
By Rico Morgenstern

Steele & al. (2013) have described a new species, Krobia petitella, from the Berbice River drainage in Guyana, bringing the number of formally named species in this genus to four. The new species is distinguished mostly by details of the (preserved) color pattern. Life colors are not recorded, and Krobia petitella seems to be unknown in the aquarium hobby. The paper contains a discussion of the generic status of Aequidens potaroensis and Ae. paloemeuensis, which are obviously closely related but differ from Krobia in a number of characters. Therefore, the authors suggest to refer to them as 'Aequidens' for the time being.

Steele, Sarah E & E. Liverpool & H. López-Hernández. 2013. "Krobia petitella, a new species of cichlid fish from the Berbice River in Guyana (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Zootaxa. v. 3693(n. 2), pp. 152 – 162 (crc02331) (abstract)

* 04-Jul-2013

New classification of  ‘tilapiine’ cichlids New classification of ‘tilapiine’ cichlids
By Rico Morgenstern

A comprehensive phylogenic study (Dunz & Schliewen 2013) of cichlids formerly referred to as tilapiines, mostly based on molecular characters, has led to a split-up of the genus Tilapia Smith, 1840 sensu lato. The results have already been known for some time due to the publisher’s policy to make available ‘accepted manuscript’ versions, but only now that the paper is ‘officially’ published the newly proposed names are available. Three former subgenera of Tilapia - Coptodon Gervais, 1853, Heterotilapia Regan, 1920 and Pelmatotilapia Thys, 1969 - have been elevated to genus level. While the species composition of the two first two remained unchanged, Pelmatolapia has been restricted to include only P. mariae and P. cabrae. A new monotypic genus, Coelotilapia, has been established for Tilapia joka. Only four species remain in the genus Tilapia: T. sparrmanii, T. baloni, T. ruweti and T. guinasana. Three species, ’Tilapia’ brevimanus, ’T.’ busumana and ’T.’ pra, could not yet be assigned to any previously described or new genus. Several new tribes have been established: Coelotilapiini, Heterotilapiini, Pelmatolapiini, Coptodonini, Etiini, Steatocranini (each including but a single genus), Gobiocichlini (with Gobiocichla and species of unknown generic affiliation, formerly assigned to Tilapia and Steatocranus, respectively), and Oreochromini (including Oreochromis, Alcolapia, Tristramella, Iranocichla, Sarotherodon, Pungu, Konia, Myaka, Stomatepia and – with a query due to the lack of DNA data - Danakilia). The revised tribe Tilapiini contains the genera Tilapia, Chilochromis and Congolapia. The classification, particularly the usefulness of so many monogeneric tribes, may be questioned, but is fully discussed and explained in the present paper.

Dunz, Andreas R. & U.K. Schliewen. 2013. "Molecular phylogeny and revised classification ofthe haplotilapiine cichlid fishes formerly referred to as "Tilapia"". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. v. 68(n. 2013), pp. 64-80 (crc05007) (abstract)

* 17-May-2013

Desperately looking for a female Ptychochromis insolitus Desperately looking for a female Ptychochromis insolitus
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

Aquarists at the ZSL London have launched a worldwide search for a female of a critically endangered Madagascar cichlid species, Ptychochromis insolitus, the Mangarahara cichlid, which was once found in the Mangarahara River in Madagascar. It has been apparently extirpated from its natural habitat by the construction of dams that have dried up its course. The London Zoo counts with just two males of this species, and are hopeful they can soon get a female to keep a population going and save this fish from extinction. If you know of a female of this species that can be used in this effort contact the London Zoo.

" The Mangarahara cichlid is shockingly and devastatingly facing extinction; its wild habitat no longer exists and as far as we can tell, only three males remain of this entire species," said ZSL London Zoo’s Brian Zimmerman in a statement. "It might be too late for their wild counterparts, but if we can find a female, it’s not too late for the species. Here at ZSL London Zoo we have two healthy males, as well as the facilities and expertise to make a real difference. "

“ We are urgently appealing to anyone who owns or knows someone who may own these critically endangered fish, which are silver in color with an orange-tipped tail, so that we can start a breeding program here at the Zoo to bring them back from the brink of extinction ".

* 08-May-2013

Tropheus in their natural habitat Tropheus in their natural habitat
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

This morning the iTunes Store activated Ad Konings’ latest ibook, Tropheus in their natural habitat. The electronic version is identical to the printed version which will be available in about a month’s time. The ibook version has 8 embedded video clips showing Tropheus species in their natural setting. The book has something for everybody; besides descriptions of the eight species he accepts as valid, complete with a myriad of geographical variants, also the natural behavior of these fascinating cichlids is discussed in detail. And although Tropheus appears to behave rather different in captivity than in the wild, a chapter is devoted to the husbandry of these cichlids. Also the scientifically inclined reader will find a host of information and ideas that will help in understanding the evolution of these wonderful species.

As we come to expect of productions from Cichlid Press, the quality of the photos is outstanding (each photo in the book can be opened up to full screen resolution), and many of the geographical variants are here shown for the first time in their natural habitat. Tropheus in their natural habitat is a valuable addition to any library.

Konings, Ad. 2013. "Tropheus in their natural habitat". Cichlid Press. 1-170 (crc05055)

Five new Metriaclima described Five new Metriaclima described
By Ad Konings

Metriaclima zebra is arguably the most iconic cichlid from Lake Malaŵi even though it was described from a single type of unknown origin. It was suggested earlier (Konings 2007) that the holotype probably originated from Likoma Island and in this paper (Stauffer et al. 2013) this has been substantiated by comparing the holotype with several populations at Likoma Island, from one of which the type could not be distinguished.

Apart from the description of three species, Metriaclima lundoense, M. tarakiki, and M. pambazuko, which were known before and are now formally described, one species turned out to be a cryptic one that I had not anticipated: Metriaclima midomo. The interesting part is that the so-called “Blue Blaze” zebra from Tanzania and Chizumulu Island, did not turn out to be morphologically different from other M. zebra, even though this variant is often smaller than “standard” M. zebra. The blue blaze zebra from Lundo Island (Tanzania) though, showed significant and distinct differences with all other Tanzanian zebra-like species that it was described as a different species: M. midomo. It is endemic to Lundo Island where it shares the rocky habitat with at least four other members of Metriaclima.

While Stauffer et al. (2013) determined distinction between M. midomo and M. zebra, they could not find any significant difference between four species that I had initially classified as different: M. sp. ‘black dorsal chiloelo, M. sp. ‘black dorsal nkolongwe’, M. sp. ‘black dorsal nkhungu’, and M. sp. ‘black dorsal thundu’. All these variants are now grouped under the species Metriaclima nigrodorsalis.

In the course of their investigations Stauffer et al. (2013) also realized that the name of the species Pseudotropheus pursus was incorrect. In the original publication, under the heading etymology the meaning of the specific epithet was given as: “The name pursus, from the Latin meaning clean, was chosen to reflect the cleaning behavior of this species.” This was clear evidence of an inadvertent error and according to rule 32.5.1. of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, it had to be corrected. The Latin for “clean” is “purus” and Stauffer et al. (2013) corrected the name to Metriaclima purum (Stauffer 1991), but on this site the species is regarded synonymous to M. lanisticola and the original genus name is thus retained and the species is now referred to as Pseudotropheus purus.

Stauffer, Jay Richard Jr. & K. Black & A.F. Konings. 2013. "Descriptions of five new species of Metriaclima (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from Lake Malaŵi, Africa". Zootaxa. v. 3647(n. 1), pp. 101-136 (crc05041) (abstract)

* 07-May-2013

New species of Teleocichla described, T. wajapi New species of Teleocichla described, T. wajapi
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Teleocichla, T. wajapi from the río Jarí in the left bank of the lower Amazon basin in Brazil has been described by Henrique R. Varella and Cristiano R. Moreira from the federal University of São Paulo [Brasil]. The description has been published on April 23 in the digital journal Zootaxa. The new species has been mentioned in the aquarium literature since 1997 and was known as Teleocichla sp. 'Jari'. The new Teleocichla seems to be closely related to T. centrarchus, with which it shares an unique trait in the genus and a rare one in the closely related Crenicichla; the possession of four instead of three anal fin spines. It differs from T. centrarchus in a combination of features, including a smaller eye and less scales in the e1 line (a line of scales just above the the posterior part of the lateral line). T. wajapi has been named after the indigenous people of the Tupi-guarani cultural-linguistic group, Wajãpi, the Wajãpi group has a population of less than 2000 people distributed in several tribes in the state of Amapá, Brazil, and in French Guiana. The new Teleocichla is the largest of the described species.

Varella, Henrique Rosa & C.R. Moreira. 2013. "Teleocichla wajapi, a new species of cichlid from the rio Jari, Brazil, with comments on T. centrarchus Kullander, 1988 (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Zootaxa. v. 3641(n. 2), pp. 3641 (crc05039) (abstract)

* 01-May-2013

New Crenicichla species, C. gillmorlisi New Crenicichla species, C. gillmorlisi
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Crenicichla from Paraguay, C. gillmorlisi, has been described in the recent days in the journal Zootaxa by Sven Kullander and Carlos A. Santos de Lucena. The new species is apparently restricted to the río Acaray, a right bank tributary of the río Paraná in Paraguay. Six species of Crenicichla are known to inhabit Paraguay. The new species is very closely related to C. mandelburgeri Kullander, 2009 (and closely located), from which it only differs in having blotches on the sides of adult fish, instead of a lateral band. The same trait diagnoses the new C. gillmorlisi from the rest of the Crenicichla species, which now reach 89 generally accepted species, being the most numerous cichlid genus, with yet over 40 potentially undescribed species awaiting diagnosis.

Kullander, Sven & C.A.S. Lucena. 2013. "Crenicichla gillmorlisi, a new species of cichlid fish (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Paraná river drainage in Paraguay". Zootaxa. v. 3641(n. 2), pp. 149 – 164 (crc05012) (abstract)

* 25-Apr-2013

New Apistogramma, A. paulmuelleri New Apistogramma, A. paulmuelleri
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

A new species of Amazonian Apistogramma from a seemingly restricted area in Loreto, 80 kilometers south of Iquitos [Perú] has been described on the basis of the Apistogramma Project within the Laboratoire Mixte International. The new species A. paulmuelleri, honors the late Professor Emeritus Dr. Paul Müller. It was described by a group of six researchers leaded by Uwe Römer. The new species has been known in the literature since the 2002 as A. sp. "Masken/Masked" (Koslowski, 2002) and later by other names, but it had already been present in the literature since at least 1996 — miss-identified as Apistogramma cruzi. The fish has also been known as Apistogramma A52. The new species apparently belongs to the Apistogramma regani species group. One of the most conspicuous characteristics of this new species (that gave rise to the provisional name) are the vivid red and light blue markings on the cheeks and gill covers of males, plus a distinct band-like black spot occupying the complete height of the caudal peduncle in both sexes.

Römer, Uwe & J. Beninde, F. Duponchelle, C.R. García-Dávila, A. Vela-Díaz & J.-F. Renno. 2013. "Description of Apistogramma paulmuelleri sp. n., a new geophagine cichlid species (Teleostei: Perciformes) from the Amazon river basin in Loreto, Peru". Vertebrate Zoology. v. 63(n. 1), pp. 15-34 (crc05008) (abstract)