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Review of Tanganyika Magazyn N. 18 (May-2016)

By , 2016. printer
Published
Mark Smith, 2008

Classification: Publications.

" Tanganika Magazyn is a spectacular publication devoted to all things found living in the aquatic environs of Lake Tanganyika. It is produced out of Poland by Mr. and Mrs. Mierzenska and is published in both English and Polish. This latest issue, #18 was published in May 2016 and is dominant on Tropheus coverage, with three large and comprehensive articles on various Tropheus species/variants by the Karlsson brothers. Two other articles, one by John Buckland of African Cichlids Aquaculture LTD, and another by Marta Mierzenska, round out this robust issue comprising a full 130 pages in full color "

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A brief review of all five articles is as follows:

Letter from Zambia African Cichlids Aquaculture Ltd. By John Buckland.

A quaint and historical article by Mr. Buckland that describes their growing up in Africa and their passion for the fishes of Lake Tanganyika, and how they established African Cichlids Aquaculture Ltd. I find this an interesting piece, since many of us often wonder just how such an unusual and rare business began and the intense interest that the Buckland’s have brought to the table and the international hobby at large. I hope and trust that they will continue to maintain their business for many more years to come.

Biotopes of Lake Tanganyika – Inspiration for the creation of natural aquaria by Marta Mierzenska.

This is a refreshing, if not a general article, on the various biotopes to be found in Lake Tanganyika and which cichlids are most likely to be seen and observed in each unique habitat. This is brought together into how we as hobbyists may want to consider such habitats in the formation of our aquariums when maintaining such cichlids from the lake. If offers interesting tidbits of information to that end, and is packed with lots of interesting photographs of species and color variants, a couple of which have not ever been seen or published beforehand, such as the undescribed Xenotilapia species living in plant beds that is a cryptic sibling species to Xenotilapia papilio, or the new color variant of Neolamprologus pulcher (brichardi) from Kasola Island that possesses golden reticulations on the cheeks instead of the typical blue patterning found on virtually all other variants of this species.

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Classification of Tropheus from southern Tanzania by Magnus and Mikael Karlsson.

This article by the Karlsson brothers promises to provide original fodder for a new and fresh perspective on a potential undescribed species of Tropheus that they refer to in their article as Tropheus cf. moorii Kala-Muzi, which is in reference to the range of this Tropheus, being found from Kala southwards to Muzi, along the southern Tanzanian shoreline of the lake. I appreciated a fresh look at this group of Tropheus moorii-like cichlids since for many years it has been thought that the Tropheus from this portion of the lake represent the true Tropheus moorii. The Karlsson’s give interesting, thoughtful, and compelling reasons to doubt this long held assumption and offer fresh evidence and reasoning to justify the probability that this Tropheus may be an undescribed species. They even delve deeply into the philosophical aspects of what constitutes the real Tropheus moorii, what is an actual species, the essence of a species, etc, to name just a few of many concepts that they attempt to posit and massage into meaningful principles with which to grasp. The article reads well and is not overly technical, yet when reading through the latter half of the article on the philosophical aspects that they cover in detail, some concerted focus is required. Overall, a great and detailed piece that deserves a good read or two, especially for those passionate about Tropheus species. One of the interesting things about the Karlsson brothers, is that they include a whole array of photos in their publications, many with tantalizing factoids behind their unique images. In the middle of this article, on page 57, they display photos of 19 preserved Lake Tanganyikan cichlids. Two of these images stand out to me: One is of a Julidochromis they refer to as Julidochromis cf. marksmithi that was caught in the Congo side of the lake, and the other, a Neolamprologus cf. bifasciatus, that was also caught in the Congo side of the lake and whose size is 12.5 cm total length. Could these two species represent new, undescribed forms?

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Tropheus cf. moorii “Murago Tanzania” in focus! by Magnus and Mikael Karlsson.

This interesting article by the Karlsson brothers explains when and how they first discovered the Tropheus cf. moorii “Murago Tanzania” back in 2008. It is remarkable just how small its distribution is, apparently approximately 2000 meters of shoreline around Wampembe, Tanzania. It is also a sad story they tell, as it seems that this species, due to its very limited distribution, has and continues to be over collected by no less than 12 ornamental “fish collectors” on the lake. Apparently, many have been exported around the world, and it seems as though it reproduces as per the standard Tropheus in captivity, with even the Karlsson brothers father being the first to spawn it when it was first discovered and exported. Much of the latter half of this article wrestles with the artificial reproduction of this species and what the likelihood would look like if such captive raised stock were to be reintroduced back into the lake at Wampembe. The Karlsson brothers argue that it would not be the best move to reintroduce this species back into its native biotope, as they also argue that doing so with any Tanganyikan cichlid would be unwise, due to captive individuals not having the ability to survive in the very different conditions of the wild. Rather, they argue ideally, that the habitat ought to be preserved from over collecting to allow the natural population to recover. This is of course the best course to take, but virtually impossible with unregulated “collectors” collecting anything they please at will and having not regard for the continual preservation of fragile species. The Karlsson brothers caution against putting captive fishes back into the wild, well thought out and argued by them, makes me think of a similar situation in Lake Malawi, with the cichlid Pseudotropheus saulosi, which has recently been reintroduced back into its native habitat/location of Taiwanee Reef, a couple of years ago. The results seem to indicate that it is doing quite well and that is population is increasing slowly but surely. Repeated re-introductions have taken place, and it remains to be seen in the long run what the population of P. saulosi will be in the next several years. If it all works out well with this Lake Malawi species, it may be a strong indicator that it could also work in Lake Tanganyika, but only if all collecting of a particular species that has been reintroduced ceases.

Tropheus cf. moorii “Red Namansi” and Tropheus sp. “Mtosi” by Magnus and Mikael Karlsson.

A thorough article that covers in great detail both of these Tropheus species/variants, their habitat, behavior and precise location. It should be noted that the Karlsson brothers view the various Tropheus along the southern Tanzanian shoreline in a very different manner than does Konings. Whereas Konings views them all, from just south of Ulwile, Tanzania southwards into most of the Zambian shoreline as representatives of Tropheus moorii, the Karlsoon brothers see six distinct sets, or species in this part of the lake. Also, whereas the Karlsson brothers see the “Fiery Fry” Tropheus as undescribed, being referred to as Tropheus sp. "Mtosi”, Konings considers it to be a color variant of Tropheus brichardi. Clearly, no clear cut consensus exists among those who have spent a lot of time at the lake observing and photographing these interesting Tropheus. Credit should clearly be given to the Karlsson brothers for their thorough, and likely very tedious, exploration of this part of the lake several years ago in order to establish where each Tropheus variant resides. Their unique perspective is definitely worthy of serious consideration.

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The full index of this Tanganika Magazyn issue can be found in the following link:

Tanganika Magazyn (n. 18) (May-2016)

References (5):

Citation

Smith, Mark. (July 15, 2016). "Review of Tanganyika Magazyn N. 18 (May-2016)". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on December 16, 2018, from: https://www.cichlidae.com/article.php?id=444.