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Please help me understand the macmasteri complex!



Recently I have been noticing more wild-caught macmasteri-looking fish turn up at the local fish shops. Can someone identify them, and does anyone have a good guide for identifying them?

These fish are listed as A. sp. Tame:
Tame 2.jpeg Tame 4.jpeg Tame 5.jpeg
Some of the fish have an interesting caudal spot which is like almost two tall rectangles. Hopefully it's a distinct-enough feature for an ID!

This fish is listed as A. viejita Colour Form II:
viejita cf 2 2.jpeg viejita cf 2.jpeg
I couldn't get better pictures so I guess this fish probably can't be identified positively. Curious colours for a macmasteri-complex fish, though - I've not seen any like this before.

I do have some A. viejita CF1, offspring from fish that a local hobbyist brought back from Japan - it looks correctly IDed?

Also, early this year, I obtained a pair of fish from a Colombia shipment of alleged A. viejita, and bred them. I had my doubts from early on, as the shipment contained both A. viejita CF1 looking males as well as A. sp. Schwarzkehl looking males, and the female indeed had no black throat when she finally bred. Is there any way to tell what fish I actually have?

Old photos:
Schwarzkehl 1.jpg Schwarzkehl 2.jpg Schwarzkehl 3.jpg

Schwarzkehl 4.jpeg Schwarzkehl 6.jpeg

The offspring:
Schwarzkehl 5.jpeg

I'm afraid I might have hybrids here... I wasn't aware back then that black markings, including caudal spots, were such good indicators of species, and the female has a tall rectangle, but the male has a roundish dot. The LFS persuaded me my fish were a pair as they tended to tolerate each other's company better than their tankmates (though I should have known better! Apistos don't form pair bonds like many other cichlids!)

Mike Wise

Staff member
5 Year Member
To repeat from my reply to your previous (commbrae) post: "With all of the D# forms arriving from Colombia there's just not enough information on them all to say what is a new species and what is a new population".