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A. ortegai or cf ortegai 'Pebas' female?

Discussion in 'Identification and Morphology' started by Lutefisk, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Lutefisk

    Lutefisk New Member

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    Hi all,

    I bought a couple of fish from a tank of what looked (to me) to be all male A. ortegai. I gambled on the pale runt-y one hiding behind the filter, and lucked out--she's female! All the fish in that tank should have been descendants of the ones in this other thread, and therefore ortegai. The description paper makes a big deal of the "drop shaped" caudal blotch as a way to distinguish 'Pebas', and hers looks a bit like a double blotch, but also distinctly wedge-shaped. Here are some pics:
    AoFemaleRtFlank.jpg AoFemaleLtFlank.jpg AoMale.jpg

    Can anyone confirm whether these fish are both ortegai sensu stricto, or whether my female is cf. ortegai?

    Thanks!
  2. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Well, the male appears to correspond to A. ortegai. The females, however are problematic. A. ortega females in brood dress show a double caudal patch with a definite 'pinch' (indent) between the spots and only 2 lateral spots (on Bars 3 & 4). Sometimes there is a 'smudge' of color on Bar 6, too. Your female in brood dress shows a pattern more typical of A. cf. ortegai (Pebas), which shows a row of lateral spots and a more 'tear drop' caudal patch. Since these are domestic bred fish, there is a chance that they are a mix of the two. Do you know if all the males looked like your male? The possibility of a mix is high even in wildcaught fish. Both species, plus A. sp. Putumayo (Rio Ampiyacu) (A 86) were sold as A. sp. Galaxis (among other names) when originally imported. These closely related species often interbred in the hobby when first introduced. The type specimens of A. ortegai contained both the Papagei species (holotype of A. ortegai) and the Pebas species (paratype for ortegai). They were collected together at a location close to the town of Pebas at the mouth of the Rio Ampiyacu on the Amazon. Prior to this description Papagei had only been found without Pebas in the in the middle Ampiyacu, far from Pebas. In 2013 Dr. Römer told me of his problems traveling to the middle Ampiyacu from the police due to the cocaine drug growing and processing in the area. My guess is that collectors brought A. ortegai from the middle Ampiyacu and 'seeded' pools and streams near Pebas. This allowed safer and easier access to this popular species. They eventually mix in places - like the type locality of A. ortegai. In 2015 TomC and I traveled to the Rio Sumon in the upper Rio Ampiyacu. We were told it could be dangerous due to cocaine operations in this area, but we had a local collector who would intercede for us if we met any growers. We did not see any operations at that time, fortunately.
    TCMontium and Lutefisk like this.
  3. Lutefisk

    Lutefisk New Member

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    Thanks, Mike!

    The males in the store tank all looked like Papagey to me, and I was told they were all from the same breeder. However, in the weeks before I picked up my fish, I had seen some 'Pebas' for sale on the local forum; the seller had been encouraged to trade them in at that same store.

    My fish currently live in a community tank (not a breeding tank ;) ), and I'm happy just seeing them interact and care for the brood, but it's good to know that I should be calling these a hybrid if I do pass any on to others.

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