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Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:39 am
by John Heaton
I have finally gotten around to sorting out the other fish that we caught in Lake Peten last Sunday. Two of these are a bit of a puzzle to identify. The cichlid with the distinctive vertical bars can make the bars become strongly black or barely visible depending on the mood.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:52 am
by Bas Pels
Interesting fish

To me it would have to be a natural hybrid between 'C' uropthalmus and another species, or a new, undescribed, species

Perhaps it is possible to breed them, and raise the fry? Assuming them to be a hybrid, the fry sould look dissimilar amongst themselves, and a treu breeding line, such as a new species, would have to be simmilar

However, I would be interested to know more about them

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:43 am
by Michael Kwist
Could it be the magriferum where we all looking for?

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:45 am
by Norcal_Cichlid
Looking at the pic in conkel's book the body and the black spots are similiar but the head shape is more elongate like a Thorichthys type. How many were you able to catch? are they all the same looking?

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:14 am
by John Heaton
Michael, I assume you mean the mysterious margaritifer, described by Gunther but never seen since. We only have a drawing which is attached.

We only caught one of each of these rather odd varieties.

The habitat(southern arm of the Lake) where they were caught, to my knowledge was last visited by Hubbs in 1935 where he found Rocio octofasciata and Amphilophus robertsoni. We were actually serching for these species. We will return tomorrow to make another search.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:48 am
by blackghost
It does look a lot like that drawing.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:03 am
by John Heaton
It is on record that Bailey and Rosen (1971 and 1974) found very small specimens (less than 4.5 cms) in various small streams in Guatemala (not in the Peten) which they decribed as Amphilophus margaritifer. These could easily have been wrongly identified. No photos or drawings were produced.
The original specimen described by Gunther was 12.7 cms. This is about the average size for adult cichlids found in Lake Peten with the exception of C. urophthalmus and Petenia splendida which can grow to twice that size.

An artist making a drawing from a dried specimen has to use some imagination sometimes. I have found that fish that have died have changed their markings and colours dramatically. I always photograph fish as soon as they are caught to make their identification more accurate. Later, after they have settled in a tank they may or may not display the same colours.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:35 pm
by John Heaton
Here is a black and white version of my capture. Markings are similar but obviously the head shape is wrong.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:36 pm
by John Heaton
I think that the cichlid in question could be a Jack Dempsey Juvenile. Here is a black and white of a Rocio.
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Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:11 pm
by Alex Odesit
John Heaton wrote:I think that the cichlid in question could be a Jack Dempsey Juvenile. Here is a black and white of a Rocio.
.
Very unlikely John. Mouth too small for Rocio species even juvenile, also head shape far from the Rocio's types.

Either undescribed species, or mysterious Margaritifer, or even naturaly occured hybrid which may have some Rocio blood in fact.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:26 pm
by John Heaton
Thanks Alex you have the same opinion as Bas, it will be interesting to see what mysteries we can pull out of the Lake tomorrow.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:36 pm
by Rick Thibert
John,

Just an observation, to me this fish displays characteristics of both C. urophthalmus and P. melanurus, both present in the lake, perhaps a natural hybrid??

Rick

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:41 pm
by blackghost
Yes, on second viewing it does resemble urophthalmus, in the stripes and eyes(?).

Maybe the original 'margaritifer' specimen was also a hybrid? It would explain the lack of specimens since.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:57 pm
by John Heaton
We do collect, sometimes, urophthalmus with a few illuminated blotches on the flanks, so your suggestions are very valid. I will search my archives for pictures. Although this unvisited part of the Lake could harbour a new species, I think it unlikely. The proof would be if we collect several identical fish of different ages.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:25 pm
by John Heaton
Some C urophthalmus variations.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:38 pm
by Norcal_Cichlid
Regardless these are great threads! Keep it coming.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 6:54 am
by primarypredator
John Heaton wrote:I have finally gotten around to sorting out the other fish that we caught in Lake Peten last Sunday. Two of these are a bit of a puzzle to identify. The cichlid with the distinctive vertical bars can make the bars become strongly black or barely visible depending on the mood.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
By coloration it looks alot like the fish pictured in Conkel's book. The lack of a hump is not a big deal, its usually just found in older fish. Many thought Conkel's fish was a hybrid, and it was lost when Florida got too cold. Plus the slides were labeled as being from Rio San Pedro, not Peten. So maybe this is a naturally occurring hybrid too. But who knows. Go and collect some more.
Is it the infamous margaritifer? I don't think so, wrong lake.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 9:50 am
by John Heaton
I had completely forgotten about this thread.
The Rio San Pedro is North of Lake Peten, its tributaries are a short distance from my house. It is also a tributary of the Usumacinta. margaritifer was originally supposed to have been found in Lake Peten, probably by Osbert Salvin and sent to Gunther.

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 10:29 am
by michi tobler
Well this is an interesting fish. The general banding pattern is certainly reminiscent of A. robertsoni (see below), the white edging of the lateral spots of C. urophthalmum, but the whole appearance doesn't quite fit anything. Do you still have that specimen?

Image

Re: Fishing trip puzzles

Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 4:00 pm
by John Heaton
Michi, unfortunately I no longer have these fish. It certainly resembles the robertsoni in your photo. The habitat where I found these fish is the same one where Hubbs found robertsoni in 1935.
As I have mentioned in my other thread, the weather has turned against us earlier then expected. Net fishing has not been the success that I expected. We will continue with training and the next trip, when it is possible, we will be using both systems. Finding sufficient bait is the line fishing problem.
The Summer storms are not a big problem providing we are properly equipped with plastic ponchos etc. and we are not caught a long way from shelter for the launch.
As is common with CA cichlids we find a lot of variations in the same species found in the Lake.