News on cichlids
By Rico Morgenstern (21-Aug-2014)
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 Furthermore, unpublished molecular data suggest that it is not closely related to the type species O. malagaraziensis.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. 37(1):135-149 (crc06350)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (20-Aug-2014)
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 & Melanie 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. 3852(3):391 – 400. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3852.3.8 (crc06342) (abstract)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (20-Jul-2014)
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.
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (28-Jun-2014)
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. 2014(1):79-86. DOI: 10.1643/CI-13-028 (crc06195) (abstract)
By Ad Konings (03-May-2014)
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 AfricanDivingLtd.com, and while you are there check out the amazing video clip of rare Tanganyika cichlids.
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (22-Apr-2014)
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. 3790(3):425–438. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3790.3.2 (crc06115) (abstract)
By Patrick Tawil (13-Apr-2014)
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. DOI: 10.1007/s10228-014-0396-9 (crc06101) (abstract)
By Ad Konings (11-Apr-2014)
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. 24(4):301 - 328 (crc06100) (abstract)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (24-Feb-2014)
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 & Wolfgang 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. 63(3):301-306 (crc06068) (abstract)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (27-Dec-2013)
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 mongabay.com on December 20.
Anonymous. 2013. "Conservation hail mary works: Mate for near-extinct fish found!". mongabay.com. http://news.mongabay.com/2013/1220-mangarahara-cichlid.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MongabaycomNews+(Mongabay.com+news) (crc05956) (abstract)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (06-Nov-2013)
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. 19(4):207-224 (crc05757) (abstract)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (02-Nov-2013)
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 & Hernán López-Fernández. 2013. "Geophagus crocatus, a new species of geophagine cichlid from the Berbice River, Guyana, South America (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Zootaxa. 3731(2):279 – 286. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3731.2.8 (crc05756) (abstract)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (23-Oct-2013)
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.
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (17-Oct-2013)
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. Rícan. 2013. "Crenicichla taikyra (Teleostei: Cichlidae), a new species of pike cichlid from the middle río Paraná, Argentina". Zootaxa. 3721(4):379 – 386. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3721.4.5 (crc05740) (abstract)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (17-Oct-2013)
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.
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (08-Oct-2013)
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.
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (01-Oct-2013)
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. 63(2):161 – 169 (crc05736) (abstract)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (30-Sep-2013)
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. 63(2):171-181 (crc05735) (abstract)
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (02-Aug-2013)
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.
By Rico Morgenstern (01-Aug-2013)
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. 3693(2):152 – 162. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3693.2.2 (crc02331) (abstract)