Cichlids of Victoria

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 Post subject: my doubts
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:00 am 
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Hi the title is explicit I have doubts about some identifications of some vics in the US hobby,
1- the yala swamp Mbipia lutea
: From what I have read no Mbipia species has been found in the swampy regions( they are rock dwelling species almost exclusively) so this is my first doubt; secondly the general body form and color doesn't match the lutea species diagnose, yellow bodied species with a blue grey head and red fins and a light orange flush on the upper flanks. Even if it has ben found in rocky reefs near swamps aeras, the color is too far from the lutea color knowing that the body color is an important characteristic to distinguish species This is my most important doubt
2- the H.riponianus Boyanga: nor the body color (even in the variants described) nor the fins color nor the lacrymal stripe match the description in Olee's book. These are serious points to consider, I would rather call this fish H.sp"Boyanga" before assigning it to a genus and a species. i've seen some wild individuals H.riponianus in 2001 wich were collected in Kenya shorelines and this fish doesn't look like the fish I know under this name. the H.riponianus is a grey- blue species with red fins and very little red-orange egg dummies( not more than 3) arranged in a horizontal line. This is completly different from the boyanga fish, it has a blue anal fin with more than 4 egg dummies arranged in 2 horizontal lines, a light red flush on the inferior part of the flanks and blue fins, the caudal fin is motsly blue with very little red in it(less than 1/3)
The H.riponianus has a red caudal fin(2/3 of its surface) so these are many characteristics that make me doubt....
3-the assignation of Xystichromis genus for H.sp"flameback" (until 1998 and the description of Mbipia genus) this is non valid for the victorian fishes proper, even in the case of this fish being a algae scraper wich is not true( it was described as an insect eater when first collected in Kenyan waters by Dr Loiselle), I don't see any pertinence to keep this fish in the Xystichromis genus knowing that none of the victorian fishes sensu stricto does fit this genus no more.
Plus, it brings a confusion to the hobbyists and beginners by saying that the victorian flameback(insect eater) belongs to the same sub genus that the kyoga flameback (plant eater)
xris :) :?:


Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:00 am
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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:54 pm 
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I really don't know enough to comment on this. As much research I have done on Victorians I still feel like a newbie. I would love to see this conversation plaid out here here on the forum. We all could learn a lot from it.

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Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:54 pm
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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:18 am 
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Re I made a mistake, the article was written by Les Kaufman and not Paul Loiselle, the title is Evolutionary and biology of cichlids fishes as revealed in faunal remants in northern lake victoria, 1993. H.flameback is recorded as insect eater so this makes it impossible to belong to Xystichromis sub genus
xris :)


Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:18 am
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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:24 am 
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Hello Xris,
Hope all is well.
I think the Mbipia lutea spot bar is what you are referring to... or Mbipia cf. lutea spot bar I believe it has been more properly named the past few of years. The story of this fish in the US hobby is best told by Greg Steeves here: http://www.africancichlids.net/articles/mbipia_lutea/
As you know, not much about Victorians is know outside of the research collections that have been done. There is much conjecture using Ole's book to name the fish collected outside of the rigorous academic research conditions; which is why the group buy from the Germans was important to me.
One other point to consider is the rapid speciation of the Victorian cichlid flock. In only a few generations changes in a species can happen with the traits of color being the most "plastic". Feeding niches can change for a fish, which in turn changes their mouth parts.
I do believe in the case of Yala swamp that the swamp was in our lifetimes once a portion of Lake Victoria proper, but the lowering of the water level has isolated it from the main lake trapping many species that would normally live in deeper more varied terrain. The life cycle of these cichlids is short in comparison to our own human life cycle. They have likely gone through five generations or more in ten years, making it likely that changes to the original trapped species have happened.
I believe that you may be familiar with Ole's recent assertion that hybridization seems to also contribute to the process. He has written about the Yssichromis pyrrhocephalus, once the most abundant open water cichlid in Victoria seemingly disappear, now returning to their former niche changed enough that they don't look the same (DNA analysis shows they have hybridized), and the Pundamillia genus' deep water blue species hybridizing with the shallower water red species in murky water conditions.
The only real way to keep these things straight is through DNA comparisons.... This brings me to the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates project of collecting as many (dead) species of African cichlids that have a fairly certain collection point and preferably are wild caught or first captive generation. They take a fin clip for DNA analysis and preserve them in alcohol for the museum. They are kept for future research. I hope that comparisons can be made someday. Questions like yours will really be answerable with the DNA and all the other available information is put together and analyzed.

I am assuming that you are Xris from Haplochromis.org... fill out your profile some more so others will know more about you......
Allen ;~)


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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:07 pm 
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Nice write up TeknikAl, lake Victoria species are definitely still a mystery in large part. I would add that 10 generations in 5 years may be a bit conservative for many Victorians. I know my Xystichromis phytophagus group start breeding at 2 months old very prolifically. That gives potential for 120 generations in 5 years time. The Cichlids of Lake Victoria are one of the greatest natural wonders. It is evolution at a speed which can be documented very easily. The destruction of this lake from a intellectual standpoint is on par with the Destruction of the written records of the Pyramid builders of the Americas by the Spaniards. Lost forever do to short sightedness.


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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:41 pm 
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Xris, have gotten to raise any fry from these fish? Perhaps Anton has brought some over the pond.


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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:38 am 
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Hi Allen I agree with all the things yu said, but the changes in morphology didn't occur yet after 20 years of keeping those species..So I think it may take a very long time( perhaps many more than a human generation) if we don't make an artificial selection pressure( like favorizing the raising of albinos or mutations). We don't saw any changes in the well known yellow mbuna Labidochromis caeruleus( even if only a pair was at the basis of all the captives fishes from about 20 years)so I have doubts also on a taxonomical point of vue.
xris :)


Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:38 am
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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:16 pm 
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It was my understanding that some tank kept Mbuna fish can have changes to their teeth very quickly depending on what we feed them.


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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:51 pm 
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It seems the question is if the changes are in the tooth surfaces from friction and stress on the jaw, or is it in the genetic building blocks.
Me wrote:
It was my understanding that some tank kept Mbuna fish can have changes to their teeth very quickly depending on what we feed them.


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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:00 pm 
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I see, I didn't know the verdict was still out.


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 Post subject: Re: my doubts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:17 am 
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Hi
The abrasure of teeth is a normal thing, it depends on the substrate where they are living and how they collect their food, even in aquarium. A change in morphology is for example a modification in the head profile(from straight to decurved for example), a different tooth pattern(not the same teeth, nor the same number of rows, of gap between the rows etc...) a change in the general body form( laterally compressed to rounded, etc..)
As yu know a young fish is not exactly the same than an adult just like in human beings so morphological changes are also part of the normal devellopment in an organism.
xris :)


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