Here is an interesting article on these Honduran Astatheros
with beautiful photos:http://www.dcg-online.de/encyclopedia/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2011-05-S-109-117.pdf
The name "Astatheros margaritiferus
" is expressly used provisionally in this article. Anyway, I think it's use is unwarrented. The peculiar shape of the head, the color pattern (arrangement of bars, absence of a well defined lateral blotch, shape of the caudal spot etc.) and other characters (such as the number of sensory pores on the lower jaw as mentioned by Bussing and Martin) are not shown in robertsoni
-like cichlids regardless of their provenience.
There has been some confusion since R.R. Miller is said to have identified both the robertsoni
-like cichlid and A. longimanus
. In Cichlid Yearbook v.6, there is a photo by R. Wessel, which clearly shows A. longimanus
, denoted as "Amphilophus margaritifer
". A search at the UMMZ collection database also showed that A. longimanus
is the species identified by Miller as A. margaritifer
. Unfortunately, there is no publication in which Miller explains his view (at least I know of none), and it is also notknown if he did adhere to it. I find it highly unlikely that the Heros margaritifer
type is just an aberrant specimen of the species known as A. longimanus
. Bussing & Martin (1975) have compared large samples of both A. robertsoni
and A. longimanus
with data obtained from the Heros margaritfer
holotype and have, in my view, demonstrated its distinctness. I still find the "hybrid theory" developed here in the forum (http://www.cichlidae.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8602
) is still the most plausible one.
Concerning the Honduran robertsoni
-like fish, I would say that there are well reasons to consider it distinct from the true A. robertsoni
from Mexico, northern Guatemala and Belize. The color pattern is quite distinct, the fishes are said to attain a smaller size and there are behavioral differences as well. Bussing & Martin have grouped the Guatemala and Belize fish with the honduran form, but they had limited material from Mexico from a single drainage (Coatzacoalcos), and the life colors were evidently insufficiently kown to them.
However, still the possibility cannot be ruled out that the two fishes are connected by intermediary forms. The life colors of populations from the Caribean slope of Guatemala are not well documented. Of particular interest would be the form from the Rio Motagua drainage, which was named Cichlasoma acutum
by N. Miller (1907).