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Expanded Apisto identification system?

Bob Dixon

New Member
Messages
12
Hi. I am returning to the hobby after a long absence. There have been huge changes in taxonomy, technology, general aquarium philosophy, etc. Something I have noticed that I think the Apistogramma genus may benefit from- a numbering system. There is now a system of L-xxx id's for Loricarids(armored catfish) because there are so many, the people that do formal classification cannot keep up with them. There is also a less commonly used system for Corydoras using C-xxx. When i was in the hobby 20+years ago, there were over 120 species of Apistogramma with a new one waiting around every bend. Many of them have still not be officially described. It would be great to have a system like that. As an example, it would place officially described species near the top, maybe even based on the date of description. I think that would make A. agassizii A-001(I'm probably wrong about that). Further, because many species have regional color morphs, we could add an additional identifier, like A-001.a alenquer. It sounds like a lot of work to do this and I have no idea who would even take it on. I'm just thinking it would be helpful.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
There is the D-Number System and the A-Number System. But I think Mike, Frank and Tom will be able to tell you more, I also came back after a longer hiatus a few years ago.
If you look here:

There are A-Numbers but also some D-Numbers. In contrast to the L-Number and C-Number Systems these haven't spread as wide and as far as I know both systems have been used independently at first. Again, the history behind that is not that clear to me, the others will know better.
 

Frank Hättich

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
598
Location
Germany
In my opinion, as long as "close in A-number" doesn't imply "taxonomically/systematically close to each other" and vice versa, I don't see the benefit of such a numbering-system. And since a system that conforms to the above demand would have to be modified as soon as new species or new relevant information appears, it wouldn't be very usefull at all. Btw @Bob Dixon if you not already know it, you should visit TomC's website, especially these two: https://www.tomc.no/page.aspx?PageID=116 and https://www.tomc.no/page.aspx?PageID=127
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
There is now a system of L-xxx id's for Loricarids(armored catfish) because there are so many, the people that do formal classification cannot keep up with them. There is also a less commonly used system for Corydoras using C-xxx.
I have to add, the catfish systems are in use since the late 80s. Both work chronological, adding numbers by date of the first imports, sometimes the first published (non-scientific) report, not taxonomically. The A- and D-systems work that way, too. (As far as I know.)
 

Bob Dixon

New Member
Messages
12
And since a system that conforms to the above demand would have to be modified as soon as new species or new relevant information appears,
What? NO. I am not talking about reorganizing genera or sub-genera. When a new apisto is found, it simply gets the next available number. No reorganizing needed. Simply just keep counting.
 

Frank Hättich

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
598
Location
Germany
What? NO. I am not talking about reorganizing genera or sub-genera. When a new apisto is found, it simply gets the next available number. No reorganizing needed. Simply just keep counting.
Yes I understood what you meant, but I don't see the benefit of such a numbering-system.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
What? NO. I am not talking about reorganizing genera or sub-genera. When a new apisto is found, it simply gets the next available number. No reorganizing needed. Simply just keep counting.
Such systems are already in place but not widely in use. Impelemting a new one or reorganizing the current ones has little chance of success.
 

Bob Dixon

New Member
Messages
12
Such systems are already in place but not widely in use. Impelemting a new one or reorganizing the current ones has little chance of success.
I was not aware of an existing system. That being said, I am not asking for another one. I am content to have the one that is currently in place. And to Frank- having a numbering system allows us to quickly establish a standard identity for a new fish as it enters the hobby. So many fish are known by multiple names, making it confusing. A numbering system has worked will with Pleco-type catfish. It would help with any other large groups as well. A. borellii was being sold under 3 or 4 different names when i was first in the hobby years(decades) ago.
 

Frank Hättich

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
598
Location
Germany
There is the D-Number System and the A-Number System.
Since recently there are even Z-numbers!
However, only the A-numbers were initially introduced (in the DATZ 2005 special issue, South American Dwarf Cichlids) as a system that incorporates all up to that time known species and forms, but it hasn't been continued. D- and Z-numbers are just convenient ways to come up with common names for potentially new species/forms, i. e. naming-mechanisms for lazy people (though Tom may have a different opinion about this) ;)
 
Last edited:

MacZ

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3,119
Location
Germany
So many fish are known by multiple names, making it confusing. A numbering system has worked will with Pleco-type catfish. It would help with any other large groups as well.
The L-Number system has been abused by traders to sell fish under the wrong name, often just to maximize profit. There are some L-Numbers (such as the infamous L 46, the Zebra Pleco) that are so sought after, people sell similar species (or sometimes variants) under that name. The trade doesn't care and since has brought a lot of confusion. Additionally you have the problem of people just being ignorant and uninformed, just typing in the names and numbers they get from their suppliers into shop systems, spreading wrong and misheard names and IDs, causing even more confusion.
The L- and C-Numbers have the advantage of the original initiators (the DATZ magazine) still curating the list, and adding only such fish that are reported in their magazine. There is no such institution for other classes of fish.

Since recently there are even Z-numbers!
However, only the A-numbers were initially introduced as a system that incorporates all up to that time known species and forms, but it hasn't been continued. D- and Z-numbers are just convenient ways to come up with common names for potentially new species/forms, i. e. naming-mechanisms for lazy people (though Tom may have a different opinion about this) ;)
Thanks for clarifying, Frank!
 

Bob Dixon

New Member
Messages
12
The L-Number system has been abused by traders to sell fish under the wrong name, often just to maximize profit.
But that is not a problem with the system. Dishonest marketers will do that with or without the numbering system. The system gives buyers an easier way to research, thereby making it harder for scammers.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,119
Location
Germany
But that is not a problem with the system. Dishonest marketers will do that with or without the numbering system. The system gives buyers an easier way to research, thereby making it harder for scammers.
My point is: Many people don't research well, find a picture supposedly species X and it turns out wrong. The user is the weakpoint of such a system.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
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11,258
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Bob, nice to see you back in the game! I personally am not a fan of numbering systems for apistos. Numbers aren't really descriptive of each species like a common name would be. Maybe it's my brain petrifying, but I have a hard time discerning D53 from D52 only using numbers.

The next problem is finding someone or organization to maintain the numbering system. DATZ's A, C, and L systems only include species that are published in their magazine, so it would have to be an independent group with access to multiple sources of information.

Finally with the rise of genetic sequencing we are discovering multiple 'cryptic species' within what was once considered a single species. We already know this is true for A. agassizii and A. bitaeniata. It's beginning to appear that each river system may have separate species, not just populations of a single species. What happens when A510 turns out to be composed of more than one species? Which of these species is now A510? It's a 'can of worms". My personal preference is to use an 'A. cf. + scientifically named species name' with a collection location, e.g. A. cf. taeniata (Curuna Una), but even this isn't always possible for commercially collected species.
 

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