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Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Well, finally it is happening, the splitting up of the superspecies A. agassizii. Three new species – still undescribed scientifically – have been recognized based on genetic differences and mate choice experiments. These are the species identified – and what I will call them until they are named:

A. sp. aff. agassizii Jenaro Herrera (Cluster 1) – Both sides of the Lower Río Ucayali/Río Marañon from Jenaro Herrera to the mouth of the Río Napo

A. sp. aff. agassizii Orán (Cluster 2) – Left bank tributaries of the Río Amazonas below the mouth of the Río Napo around Orán, Peru

A. sp. aff. agassizii Nanay (Cluster 3) – Río Nanay

Anyone interested in wading through the paper can find it here:
Estivals, Guillain, Fabrice Duponchelle, Uwe Römer, Carmen Garcís-Dávia, Etienne Airola, Margot Deléglise and Jean‐François Renno. 2020. The Amazonian dwarf cichlid Apistogramma agassizii (Steindachner, 1875) is a geographic mosaic of potentially tens of species: Conservation implications. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Systems. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. (https://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/aqc.3373)
 

apistobob

Member
5 Year Member
MIke,

I've been wading through the paper for a couple of days and find it interesting and troubling. It seems like additional testing will likely show many different species. Any thoughts about how hobbyists will ever be able to know what we have?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Apisto species tend to be endemic, being restricted in their pattern of distribution. As such any fish that gets moved to a new location location will be isolated from its original population. Over time this isolation produces fish with specific traits different from the ancestral population. Eventually the traits will be so different that the species populations will not recognize each other as potential breeding partner. This is one of many definition we use to decide how to split fish into species. As for A. agassizii - and other superspecies like A. cacatuoides, A. bitaeniata, and possibly even A. trifasciata and A. borellii - many if not most populations just might be such species. Therefore there could easily be tens or hundreds of 'cryptic' species in these more cosmopolitan superspecies. The only way to know for certain is to test every population in a manner similar to those done by Estivals, et al. I highly doubt that that will ever be possible.

So, what do we do? Well, we can do like the Killifish people do: list collecting localities and give each a code number. This works well for fish collected mostly by hobbyists/specialists with no real financial advantage to be gained by hiding collecting locals. Apistos on the other hand are commercially more desirable fish and commercial collectors tend to hide such information when possible. As I see it can only do one of two things:

1. Maintain specimens only from one known collecting local, similar to killi specialists. This is unlikely to work for apisto, which are imported commercially in much larger numbers without knowing if the fish in a shipment were collected together or not.

2. Accept that we will get mixes of such species and live with it. We already do this with many of our colorful domestic strains.
 

apistobob

Member
5 Year Member
That fits with what I've been thinking.

It would be nice if we could trust that fish that are sold with a collection site attached were actually from that local. I don't worry about the fish from the collectors but once they are widespread in the hobby or develop a name within the hobby I worry that profit seekers will add localities to their aquarium strains to increase sales. I know this won't be a problem with serious hobbyists but, there are others who put profit first.

For myself, I think I'll only accept the lineage of fish where I can trace the collection back to the collector. All others I will consider to be mixed species. As you said, it is likely that many of our popular aquarium species are already mixed. Over the years I've been guilty of breeding wild fish with my tank strain

Thanks

Bob
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Over the years I've been guilty of breeding wild fish with my tank strain
There isn't anything really wrong with this so long as you sell them for what they are, a mix/aquarium strain, and don't give them some fancy location.
 
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