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Westie News from the ACA Convention

tjudy

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I just got back from the ACA 2012 Convention in Indianapolis. Great event, as usual, and this year Anton Lamboj was on hand to give some talks about westies. He and I also spent some time talking about his upcoming publications, what is in review, what is not and when we can expect the revisions he is working on to be completed.

Hemichromis.... the genus revision is in the review process and should publish sometime this year. The big change is that all of the red jewels will be elevated to a genus of their own (though Anton is still keeping the name a secret). The 5-spot jewels will remain Hemichromis. A few undescribed species will get named, including H. sp. Ankasa. Anton is sticking to his opinion that H. sp. 'Moanda' is the true H. lifilili, and Paul Loiselle (who was present at the convention and was very pointed in his questioning of Anton's changes to the genus) seems to accept that conclusion. Potential changes to the validity of H. bimaculatus are more controversial (there were not real details given). In an interesting move, Anton has started the practice of including DNA samples from tank strain fish in his assays to see where they place in relation to known wild species. He did this with the 'turquoise jewel', and the data places it firmly in amongst the HUGE number of different H. guttatus populations; this supports the assumption that the turq is a tank-strain guttatus.

Congochromis... a new paper was published just last week that describes a new species in the genus, but from preserved material only: http://tedsfishroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Congo_robustus.pdf This fish is not in the hobby at all. The location map in the paper places the type locality a long way from the commercial fish collection areas of the Congo. We may never see this one alive.

Pelvicachromis... the full genus revision is delayed. But Anton submitted a revision of the species P. taeniatus that is in review. As suspected, the fish in Nigeria will remain P. taeniatus. All of the fish in Cameroon will be returned to the name P. kribensis. Except for the population from the Wouri River, which will be elevated to its own species (no name given yet, but most likely to be named after a person who funded Anton's project). There will be some debate about some of the types in Cameroon, but more DNA work is needed is splitting them further will ever take place. For the time being, placing them into a species of their own is a good start. A part of the problem is that there are some northeastern (Kumba and Muyuka area) populations that may not be natural populations, but have been 'discovered' by scientists and assumed to be natural. The problem is that once an unsubstantiated claim in made, disproving it requires a lot more evidence. So the fish from the Muyuka, for example, which is most likely not a natural population (as admitted by the person who released them to a commercial collector in Cameroon... who I trust...) will continue to be assumed to be a valid population BECAUSE it was published in a POPULAR HOBBY BOOK 20 years ago until DNA evidence solidly proves the fish are more closely related to populations a long way from Muyuka.... lunacy. But I digress.... A paper to name the current P. sp. aff. subocellatus from Nigeria is either in review, or soon will be. The revision of the entire genus, which will make the argument to move P. humilis, P. rubrolabiatus and P. signatus to a genus of their own is not ready yet.

Steatocranus.... a paper is in review that will describe some new species (I think that the super slender and others collected around the same time are a part of that).
 

Mike Wise

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Thanks for the update, Ted. I see interesting times (in the sense of the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times") ahead for fish sold in the hobby under the name Pelvicachromis kribensis!:eek:
 

gerald

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If it were me I'd name the "red jewels" Hematochromis - for both color and temperament.
And because they'd stay next to Hemichromis in an alphabetical list.
 

PeterM47

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Ted

Thanks for the update for those of us "Westies" that couldn't go to the Convention. I am curious if Anton is planning an update to his West African Cichlid book.

Peter
 

tjudy

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I have spoken with him about that before. Right now there is nothing definitive planned. Back in 2004, Anton had to threaten to pull the entire project if the book was not published in English as well as German. That is probably a sticking point for a reprint as well. But the biggest delay is that there are simply too many revisions going on right now, and publishing before they are complete would make the good out of date in very short order. Besides the revisions of Hemichromis and Pelvicachromis, the entire Tilapiine family is being revised, including extensive work with the Tilapia (Coptodon) complex and Steatocranus. Anton has unfinished business in Paranannochromis and Chromidotilapia as well.
 

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