Cichlid Room Companion

RSSNEWS: Section reporting on news on cichlids.

News on cichlids

* 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. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3693.2.2 (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. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2013.03.015 (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. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3647.1.6 (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. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3641.2.5 (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. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3641.2.3 (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)

* 03-Mar-2013

Genus Astatoreochromis revised Genus Astatoreochromis revised
By Rico Morgenstern

The species level taxonomy of the haplochromine genus Astatoreochromis has been revised. Two species are recognized as valid: A. alluaudi Pellegrin, 1904 (type species) from the Lake Edward and Lake Victoria region, and A. straeleni (Poll, 1944) from the Lake Tanganyika basin. A. vanderhorsti (Greenwood, 1954)has been formally synonymized with A. straeleni. The reasons for doing so are fully discussed. The work provides a comprehensive redescription, ecological and biological data, and photographs showing live coloration for each species. Altogether, this is a very recommendable work. It is, however, doubtful if A. straeleni can be regarded as a further piece of evidence for a pre-Tanganyika connection between the Malagarazi and Congo drainages via Lukuga River, as concluded by the authors. Such a view is not supported by the distributional pattern of A. straeleni as compared with the species mentioned in this context, nor by the age estimates for this and other haplochromine lineages derived from various molecular analyses.

Banyankimbona, Gaspard & Emmanuel Vreven, Jos Snoeks. 2013. "A revision of the genus Astatoreochromis (Teleostei, Cichlidae), East-Africa". European Journal of Taxonomy. v. 39, pp. 1-21 (crc04977) (abstract)

* 19-Feb-2013

Not everything is inherited Not everything is inherited
By Ad Konings

Barbara Taborsky and colleagues recently published a very important paper reporting research they performed with Neolamprologus pulcher. Her team has been carrying out many behavioral studies of this popular Tanganyikan cichlid, because of the fact that a brooding pair receives help from other, unrelated individuals in protecting their offspring. This time they investigated whether the fish's environment in the early days of its life is able to reprogram their brains, like it does in humans. And, amazingly enough, it does! They took 10-day-old fry (just in the free-swimming stage) from six different broods and split each brood in two equal halves. One half was left with the parents (some including helpers) while the other half were kept just among themselves without any adult fish. After two months the adult fish were removed and all groups were raised to adulthood under identical circumstances. After one and a half years—they are sexually adult in 12 months—the brains of 36 fish were sampled (16 grown with parents and 20 without). Taborsky et al. compared the expression level of four of the genes that are involved in stress responsiveness related to social behavior and found that, even after 1.5 years, there was a distinct difference in expression levels in these hormones (which were not related to sex or social status of the individual). This means that the environment, in this case the presence or absence of parents, in early childhood permanently programs the fish's brain! For years there has been a discussion going on whether stripping larvae from mouth-brooding females (mostly those of Tropheus) produce offspring that is not adept in raising young themselves when adult and that they need to be "imprinted" to learn the process of mouth-brooding. Now we know that indeed the first days of the fish's life are very important for the proper programming of its brains and that the environment has an important influence on this process.

Taborsky, Barbara & L. Tschirren, C. Meunier, N. Aubin-Horth. 2013. "Stable reprogramming of brain transcription profiles by the early social environment in a cooperatively breeding fish". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. v. 280(n. 1753), pp. 1-7 (crc04853) (abstract)

* 04-Jan-2013

Two cichlids from lake Victoria described Two cichlids from lake Victoria described
By Thomas Andersen

Two new species of zooplanktivorous haplochromine cichlids from Lake Victoria, Tanzania, have been described in the recent issue of Zookeys, by researchers from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Institute of Biology Leiden, the Netherlands. The two species, Haplochromis argens and H. goldschmidti (previously known as Haplochromis or Yssichromis "argens" and Haplochromis "dusky argens" respectively) closely resemble each other, but the paper demonstrate that the morphology of sympatric populations of the two species differ more than between populations from different locations, suggesting the existence of two species. H. argens is regarded as extremely rare and probably in danger of extinction, while the conservation status of H. goldschmidti, named in honour of Tijs Goldschmidt author of the book Darwin's Dreampond, is currently unknown.

de Zeeuw, Marnix P & I. Westbroek, M.J.P. van Oijen & F. Witte. 2013. "Two new species of zooplanktivorous haplochromine cichlids from Lake Victoria, Tanzania". Zookeys. v. 256, pp. 1-34. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.256.3871 (crc04822) (abstract)

* 13-Dec-2012

Lamprologus lethops finally pictured alive! Lamprologus lethops finally pictured alive!
By Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

The new issue of Cichlid News (v. 22, n. 1 – January 2013) brings a pleasant surprise for cichlid lovers, particularly those who specialize on African riverine species. One article by Oliver Lucanus presents the first pictures ever published of a live Lamprologus lethops, the only blind and most enigmatic of the cichlids, which inhabits in the deeper areas of the Congo River between Kinshasa and Brazzaville [Democratic Republic of Congo]. In this area the river is forced into a narrow channel and can reach up to 200 meters depth. The great volume of water pushes through at a great speed and turbulence, so much that you can’t see your hand already at 20 cm of depth. All previous efforts to bring this fish alive had failed, as most fish would die from the bends and shock produced by bringing them up after capture. At great cost and effort Oliver Lucanus has finally succeeded in the most unlikely, to take to Canada live specimen and make them thrive. Already his observations on the husbandry of this species are fascinating.

Lucanus, Oliver. 2013. "First Notes on the Husbandry of the Blind Cichlid Lamprologus lethops from the Congo River". Cichlid News Magazine. v. 22(n. 1), pp. 6-11 (crc04749)

* 28-Nov-2012

A new tilapiine genus and species from the Congo basin A new tilapiine genus and species from the Congo basin
By Rico Morgenstern

A new genus for the species hitherto known as Tilapia bilineata Pellegrin, 1900, has been described: Congolapia Dunz, Vreven & Schliewen, 2012. The new genus is defined by morphological and color characters, but it is also supported by DNA analyses. Apart from the type species, Congolapia bilineata, two further species were included: Congolapia crassa (Pellegrin, 1903) has been removed from the synonymy of C. bilineata, and a new species, Congolapia louna, has been described. The latter is only known from a tributary of the Lefini River (Republic of the Congo), whereas the two other species are widespread in the central Congo basin. This interesting work is part of a comprehensive revisional study of the genus Tilapia, which will most likely result in the adddition of further genera.

Dunz, Andreas R. & E. Vreven & U.K. Schliewen. 2012. "Congolapia, a new cichlid genus from the central Congo basin (Perciformes: Cichlidae)". Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters. v. 23(n. 2), pp. 155-179 (crc04622) (abstract)

* 27-Nov-2012

A new species of Andinoacara A new species of Andinoacara
By Rico Morgenstern

A new species of Andinoacara from the Rio Esmeraldas drainage in Ecuador has been described: Andinoacara blombergi Wijkmark, Kullander & Barriga Salazar, 2012. The new species is very similar to Andinoacara rivulatus (Günther, 1860), which was redescribed in the present paper based on specimens from the Guayas, Tumbes and Zarumilla drainages in Ecuador and Peru. A common lectotype for this species and Acara aequinoctialis Regan, 1905 has been designated. The status of the latter as an objective junior synonym is thus confirmed.

The new species was previously believed to be conspecific with, or sometimes, indeed, to represent the 'true' A. rivulatus. However, the present study demonstrates that this name correctly applies to the species well known in the aquarium hobby as 'Goldsaum' cichlid..

Wijkmark, Nicklas & S. Kullander & R.E. Barriga Salazar. 2012. "Andinoacara blombergi, a new species from the río Esmeraldas basin in Ecuador and a review of A. rivulatus (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters. v. 23(n. 2), pp. 117-137 (crc04621) (abstract)

* 04-Nov-2012

A New Name in Eretmodus A New Name in Eretmodus
By Ad Konings

A new Eretmodus species has been described and the author, Warren Burgess, named it after Mark Smith, one of the fellows and curators of this site (congratulations Mark!). The description was published simultaneously in English and in Polish in the magazine “Tanganika Magazyn”. I can’t read Polish but I hope they mentioned that only the English version is to be regarded as the proper description, else we have a problem referring to it. Although it is mentioned that the types of the new species were collected at Makombe in Burundi, there is no date or name of the collector(s) given. The photo of a live specimen that accompanies the description shows a specimen of what Patrick Tawil calls Eretmodus sp. ‘ubwari’ although Burgess claims that his new species represents what I have been referring to as Eretmodus sp. ‘north’. Both these species are recognized as valid on this site. I suspect that the types were not collected by the author or by Mark Smith, but obtained via the aquarium hobby. Patrick Tawil (pers. comm.) tells me that he has seen both species in shipments from Burundi and therefore concludes that both species are found sympatrically. I’m a little less certain about this assumption since I have dived at Makombe and only noticed one species of Eretmodus, i.e. E. sp. ‘north’. Both Patrick and I agree that the type series of E. marksmithi very likely consists of two species and it will be up to others to find out what actually represents this species..

Burgess, Warren. 2012. "A new species of goby cichlid of the genus Eretmodus, E. marksmithi, (Pisces: Cichlidae) from the Northern part of Lake Tanganyika". Tanganika Magazyn. v. 12, pp. 23-31 (crc04601)

* 29-Sep-2012

Two new Mazarunia Two new Mazarunia
By Rico Morgenstern

López-Hernández & al. (2012) have described two new species of the previously monotypic South American cichlid genus Mazarunia, Mazarunia charadrica and Mazarunia pala. Regarding morphology and color pattern, both are strikingly distinct from the type species, M. mazarunii, which strongly contrasts with the situation in the closely related genus Guinacara and most other genera. Nevertheless, the monophyly of the genus seems well supported by the used datasets.

All three species of Mazarunia are restricted to the Upper Mazaruni drainage in Guyana and do further elaborate the status of that area as a center of endemism.

One of the new species, Mazarunia charadrica, is already known in the hobby. In the 1990s, it has been confused with M. mazarunii. After the proper identification of the latter, it was referred to as 'Red Patwa'. Stawikowski (DATZ 11 and 12/2003; see also Stawikowski & Werner 2004: "Die Buntbarsche Amerikas. Band 3") gives a full account of the breeding behavior (in aquarium) of both M. mazarunii and M. charadrica..

López-Fernández, Hernán & Donald C. Taphorn & Elford A. Liverpool. 2012. "Phylogenetic diagnosis and expanded description of the genus Mazarunia Kullander, 1990 (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the upper Mazaruni River, Guyana, with description of two new species". Neotropical Ichthyology. v. 10(n. 3), pp. 465-486 (crc04572) (abstract)

* 20-Sep-2012

New Tanganyika cichlid New Tanganyika cichlid
By Ad Konings

Kullander et al. (2012) describe a new species of Lepidiolamprologus from Lake Tanganyika. The new species, L. kamambae, closely resembles L. kendalli and L. elongatus, but can be told apart from these by “a broad dark stripe on cheek”. Their color description of the preserved types mentions “…a light to dark brown blotch or wide stripe variably extending posteroventrad from orbit minimally to halfway point, maximally to contact with inner margin of preopercle”. This stripe, however, is not very distinct on the specimen photographed underwater, but that specimen looks like a “washed-out” L. kendalli and it could be a northern population of that species although it was never seen between Kala and Kamamba Island, the type locality and one of the two places the new species was seen (the other at the northern end of nearby Kerenge Island). They compared the new species with L. kendalli from Muzi but the dark blotch on the cheek of that population looks different in that of the Kala population where it is broken up in irregular lines (see accompanying photo). Extrapolating, one could imagine an incremental loss of coloration on the cheek (and other parts) with the “diagnostic” bar below the eye left in the northernmost population.

Instead of comparing the new species with similar species from the same locality, and therefore proving its valid status, Kullander and coworkers compared L. kamambae with L. elongatus from near Kabwe (about 40 km north in a straight line) and with L. mimicus from “Frontosa Reef” (about 30 km north). Both these species should be sympatric with L. kamambae and a comparison with those, or even just the fact that their existence in sympatry with the species is proved, should have been presented. It is not difficult to find morphological differences between different populations of the same species, but that doesn’t validate an assumption of a new species; sympatry with like species does.

Kullander, Sven & M. Karlsson & M. Karlsson. 2012. "Lepidiolamprologus kamambae, a new species of cichlid fish (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from Lake Tanganyika". Zootaxa. (n. 3492), pp. 30–48 (crc04564) (abstract)

* 07-Aug-2012

New Malawi cichlid New Malawi cichlid
By Ad Konings

A new species of Malawi cichlid was described recently by Michael Oliver (2012). It concerns a member of the genus Hemitaeniochromis and he named it H. brachyrhynchus. The specific epithet means “short snout” and this appears the main characteristic that sets it apart from all known Malawi cichlids. The preorbital depths of the two specimens he had for the description measured 33.5 and 34.5% of eye length respectively, and this is very narrow when compared to other Malawi cichlids because most of these cichlids have a preorbital depth that is in the range of 50 to 100% of eye length. Oliver also expanded the generic diagnosis of the genus, originally from Eccles & Trewavas 1989 for a single species—H. urotaenia, a large predator, to include his new species. Apart from characters of the oral jaws he adjusted the apparently most important character, the melanin pattern. He added the detail that the midlateral strip (which is fragmented into discontinuous spots at least on its anterior portion) should “originate an eye length or more behind the operculum.”

Oliver further claims that the species is extremely rare because only two specimens were ever collected, one by himself and another by Snoeks & Hanssens (2004), which became the paratype. When I saw the photo of Snoeks & Hannsens’ fish in 2004, which they named Hemitaeniochromis sp. ‘insignis big eye’, I recognized immediately that this was very likely the fish I had provisionally named H. sp. ‘spilopterus blue’, but I forgot to mention this observation in my latest book (Konings 2007). Over the years I have seen ‘Spilopterus Blue’ at many places around the lake and it is not a rare species. The rarity of Oliver’s H. brachyrhynchus is possibly due to the fact that he dealt with fish that were collected by nets. H. sp. ‘spilopterus blue’ is a cave dweller and is usually found at levels below 25 meters. These are not qualities that would make it likely that ‘spilopterus blue’ ends up in a net.

I would be very hesitant to describe a new Malawi cichlid if I wouldn’t know its life history or at least know what it looks like alive. Oliver dismissed ‘spilopterus blue’ even to be a member of Hemitaeniochromis because, he reasoned, the photo of a female in my book showed it with a continuous midlateral stripe and would be more likely a member of Protomelas. Most individuals of ‘spilopterus blue’, however, have a pattern in which the midlateral stripe is broken up into spots, but it seems that brood caring females have a complete midlateral stripe (have photos of only three different females). Of course, the melanin pattern can be enhanced or completely lacking when a fish is dead, and when you have only dead specimens to contend with you wouldn’t know. Oliver further argues that the preorbital depth is about 55% of eye length in my photo of a fully grown male, but this must be a typo as I measure about 46% in the same photo.

For the time being we keep both species, H. sp. ‘spilopterus blue’ and H. brachyrhynchus, in the catalog until I have examined the 17 specimens I have collected over the years and which are now lodged in the Penn State museum. I’ll keep you posted.

Oliver, Michael K.. 2012. "Hemitaeniochromis brachyrhynchus, a new species of cichlid fish from Lake Malaŵi, with comments on some other supposed members of the genus (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Zootaxa. (n. 3410), pp. 35-50 (crc04509) (abstract)

* 02-Aug-2012

Alternative reproductive tactics for \'Lamprologus\' brevis Alternative reproductive tactics for 'Lamprologus' brevis
By Ad Konings

Ota and coworkers (2012) recently published a paper in which they claim that Neolamprologus brevis (= ‘Lamprologus’ brevis) has alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs). Usually we have come to expect excellent field work from this group of Japanese researchers but with this paper they have made an important mistake in my opinion. There is no question about the fact that ‘Lamprologus’ brevis and ‘Lamprologus’ calliurus are two different species and which are sometimes found within a short distance of each other. Males are very simply distinguished by the round tail in ‘L.’ brevis and the truncated (lyre) tail in ‘L.’ calliurus. Not only morphologically do they differ (‘L.’ calliurus gets considerably larger than ‘L.’ brevis) but more importantly do they differ in breeding technique.

In Ota et al.’s paper we find this sentence: “A Lamprologini cichlid, Neolamprologus brevis (a synonym of Neolamprologus calliurus [34]) (sic)…”. First off, they should have written “(N. calliurus is a synonym)” because L. brevis was described seven years earlier and has priority. Then the journal has this awful usage of reference numbers instead of authors and year. Anyway, the ref [34] points to an unpublished thesis by Aibara (2005) to justify the synonymization of these two species, which is of course preceded by Poll who suggested this in 1986, almost 20 years earlier. I have not seen this thesis and it is entirely possible that the fish we all know as ‘L.’ brevis is in fact an undescribed species and the name ‘L.’ brevis should be given to the lyre-tail species (but the authors should have mentioned such an important detail), but the fact remains that there are two different species involved. From the rest of the paper I deduct that the single-shell breeding cichlid, our ‘L.’ brevis, are just subadult individuals (although I have video of females with young in that single shell) and that the larger individuals, our ‘L.’ calliurus, are the adults and they form harems over shell patches made by ‘L.’ callipterus males. None of this is news as this has been reported of these two species before (Konings, 1998), but if you group two species under one name you automatically get alternative reproductive tactics. The only interesting part is now, “Where do I get that Aibara thesis?.

Ota, Kazutaka & M. Aibara, M. Morita, S. Awata, M. Hori, & M. Kohda. 2012. "Alternative reproductive tactics in the shell-brooding Lake Tanganyika cichlid Neolamprologus brevis". International Journal of Evolutionary Biology. v. 2012(n. 915265), pp. 1-8. DOI: 10.1155/2012/193235 (crc04503) (abstract)