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by Juan Miguel Artigas Azas, 1996.
The sixth of this anual series, intended to be and update on the newest cichlid information available, includes in 96 pages information about the biology, taxonomy, evolution, aquarium keeping and more on cichlids around the globe. Photographs are mostly underwater and top quality. The book is presented as a collection of articles by several authors, separated by groups.
On April 1st, 1996, Saulos Mwale, head diver and manager of Stuart Grant's fish collecting station in Malawi, died after a few weeks of hospitalisation. I had known him for more than 15 years, and I will greatly miss him and his knowledge of the lake and extraordinary skill at collecting cichlids.
During the past 5 years Madagascar and its endemic cichlid fauna have been the focus of much attention. Although it transpires that many habitats have been destroyed by human activity, several new cichlid species, together with others already known, have been located and brought back alive for aquarists to enjoy. Two new yearbook contributors, Dr. Patrick de Rham and Jean Claude Nourissat, are the explorers most involved in obtaining such specimens, and they share their knowledge of Madagascar cichlids with us in this volume (Madagascar cichlids are also the subject matter in Martin Geerts' contribution discussing the age of cichlids).
Jean Claude Nourissat (Toulon, France) ranks foremost among the world's cichlid-collectors and has discovered numerous new species in Central and South America as well as in Madagascar. He has been president of the French Cichlid Association for a very long time and has for many years devoted all of his free time to cichlids and cichlid collecting. His contribution tells us about the rediscovery of two Madagascan cichlids.
Dr. Patrick de Rham (Lausanne, Switzerland), a biologist by both profession and inclination, has travelled to all the corners of the globe, gaining a wealth of experience and information on cichlid biotopes. He has visited Madagascar 7 times, and during his most recent expedition was able to collect a few specimens of Oxylapia polli, a species restricted to fast flowing water and with a very limited distribution.
Other authors who are contributing for the first time are here briefly introduced in the order in which their articles appear:
Volker Puttberg (Dinslaken, Germany) is an experienced Tanganyika specialist who has kept and bred almost all the species known from the lake. Besides breeding some Cyprichromis species, he has also been able to capture the beautiful coloration of these fishes on film.
Benthochromis tricoti is a very popular cichlid, but only a handful of aquarists have been able to breed it in captivity. They include Paolo Salvagiani (Fork, Italy), one of the founders of the Italian Cichlid Association, who has studied biology and shares his knowledge as coeditor of their bimonthly magazine.
Dr. Jay Stauffer Jr. (Pennsylvania State University, USA) needs no introduction as he is one of the leading scientists working on Malawi cichlids. He has published a number of descriptions of cichlid species and many more are planned. His Ph.D. student Karen Kellogg is studying the importance of colour in mate choice in several mbuna species, and together they report on their findings and on the types of field and laboratory studies they are conducting.
Rusty Wessel (Louisville, USA) is a committee chairman of the American Cichlid Association and a lifelong aficionado of Central American cichlids. His article describes the discovery of a new cichlid species in Honduras, which has recently been named after him: Theraps wesseli.
Anybody who has kept Malawi cichlids will have heard of Stuart Grant (Salima, Malawi), who has been exporting Malawi cichlids all over the world since 1972, but is best known for his uncompromising hospitality to anybody interested in observing Malawi cichlids in their natural biotope. His contribution describes the current situation regarding cichlid collecting in East Africa.
Finally, I would like to thank the following friends for their support and hospitality: Laif DeMason (Homestead, Florida), Gary Kratochvil (San Antonio, Texas), Juan Miguel Artigas (San Luis Potosi, Mexico), Toby Veall (Mpulungu, Zambia), Jeanne and Chris Blignaut (Mpulungu, Zambia), and last, but not least, Stuart Grant.
El Paso, Texas