"Heros" ornatus

Discussion about cichlids from South America

Moderator: Florent

Nuchal Man
Posts: 149
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:45 pm
Contact:

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Nuchal Man » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:46 pm

I agree with Mark that it is most likely 'Cichlasoma' gephyrum. Sadly, currently, this is a very understudied group of interesting fish. The specimens used to describe 'Cichlasoma' ornatum are from the the Rio Durango and Rio St. Javier on the Pacific side of Northern Ecuador (Regan, 1905) (I have the description if people woud like me to post it). Kullander in his 2003 Cichlids of the Americas checklist also lists the Patia River basin in Southwest Colombia.

'Cichlasoma' gephyrum was originally described as a subspecies of ornatum. I'm not sure when or who raised it to a full species status, but it may have been Kullander in the same 2003 Cichlids of the Americas checklist. In Kullander's 2003 checklist he lists the Rio Dagua and San Juan River basins as their distribution. These two basins are also located on the Pacific coast of the country at about the middle of the countries coast line. There is a fair amount of distance from these basins to the Rio Patio basin that houses 'Cichlasoma' ornatum.

I've also seen fish for sale from Oliver from the Rio Atrato that he lists as 'Cichlasoma' cf. gephyrum. This seems like a good name as it would be closer to the range given for 'C'. gephyrum in the literature, yet, that river basin is in the Northern part of the country a decent distance from the Rio Dagua and San Juan basins.

I think that the fish Rapps was selling as 'C'. cf. ornatum from the Rio San Juan most likely correspond to 'C'. gephyrum as far as distributions are concerned, and it would be a more appropriate name for the fish. These are sister species. Either way, weather this fish is 'C'. ornatum or 'C'. gephyrum, it is beautiful and rare in the hobby and I'm jealous of the people who have it! It's nice to have some new and interesting fish finally trickle in from Colombia and we should be thankful for that.

This is just my 2 cents from what I've gathered from literature and looking at maps. Hopefully in a month I can find time to duck into the Field Museum in Chicago and look at some of their specimens as they have the type for 'C'. gephyrum and specimens of 'C'. ornatum and 'C'. microlepis!

Mark Smith
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:58 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Mark Smith » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:54 pm

Nor Cal Cichlid -are you able to offer any constructive opinion on the matter, like myself and Nuchal Man. Just indicating you believe it is C. ornatum without offering any interesting information to justify such a response doesn't seem to be in the spirit of Cichlidae.com. This thread should bring in varied opinions, each with some sort of proof attached, don't you think?

Bas Pels
Posts: 2260
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:17 am
Location: Nijmegen - the Netherlands

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Bas Pels » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:52 am

Ornatum is really a long sought fish. So commercially it is much better to say 'C' sp cf ornatum than 'C' s; cf gephyrum - even in case the arguments for the last name are much better

Rapps has the most experience AND the commercial interest.

Truts whoever you want, but personally I think a commercial interest is quite a good argument to trust others

Mark Smith
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:58 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Mark Smith » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:28 am

Interesting Bas Pel

"Truts whoever you want, but personally I think a commercial interest is quite a good argument to trust others"

Many times commercial interests (I am assuming you mean those businesses that sell tropical fishes?) intentionally put incorrect names on the fish that are being sold as a way to better sell their fish. Often times a more well known, perhaps old or invalid, name will be attached to a given species since more potential buyers are familiar with the older, incorrect name. This was the case when the Electric Blue was formally described as S. fryeri. Commercial entities continued to sell this species as H. ahli for many years, some places still do so to this day. Or, Lepidiolamprologus mimicus, when available continues to be sold as L. profundicola, or sp. "Profundicola Tanzania". Additional examples abound. Of course, there are other commercial entities that are just plain ignorant regarding the species they sell, and blatently put wrong names to the species they sell, even though they may advertise that they are experts with many years of experience, etc.

Nuchal Man's argument holds more water so far. Any one else out their with a more solid suggestion?

User avatar
Darrell Ullisch
Posts: 374
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:54 pm
Location: SW Michigan

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Darrell Ullisch » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:01 pm

I would have to agree that the fish is more likely to be gephyrum than ornatum; however, the two are so closely related that Jeff's use of cf. ornatum is most likely because he was unaware of gephyrum rather than an effort to profit from the name ornatum. Given the level of most of his customers, having a more accurate name would have only helped his sales, and from what I've seen he has always tried to be as accurate as possible. I agree that many fish wholesalers and retailers can be both dishonest and ignorant, but my experience with TUIC has been the complete opposite. (Disclaimer: I am not a representative of TUIC, or associated with them in any way other than as a customer! :lol: )

I had never heard the name gephyrum before these discussions on CRC, either. It should be noted that gephyrum is listed under Cichlasoma in the CRC catalogue, rather than exCichlasoma. Someone might want to correct that.

However, that's why I visit this site as much as I can. The fact that many sources do mislabel fish, whether intentionally, accidental mislabeling, or out of a lack of information, is the reason I always research and double check any fish I purchase. TWIBIA ("That's What I Bought It As") is the worst argument ever used for the identification of a species. Having been burned more than once by people who did not check the ID of their fish, I tend to get quite agitated when that is the explanation given. As a former BAP chair for the local club, I once had to explain to someone that their "Uarus" were, in fact, Chocolate Cichlids.

There does seem to be a tendency for many Cichlid enthusiasts to take the word of certain individuals as gospel; I simply say, "No one is perfect!" Except Dr. Stan Weitzman. Okay, so maybe my heroes are a bit higher up the ladder than most. 8)
There are two kinds of error: blind credulity and piecemeal criticism. Sound skepticism is the necessary condition for good discernment; but piecemeal criticism is an error. - Egyptian proverb

Mark Smith
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:58 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Mark Smith » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:24 pm

I would agree with you, Darrell, that TUIC is pretty accurate on how fish are labelled/identified, hence TUIC's likely use of C. cf ornatum rather than C. ornatum. (It might be interesting to get Jeff Rapps of TUIC to chime in at this point?) TUIC seems to be accurate in terms of species identification for new world cichlids.

On a broader note: It is amazing how many hobbyists/sellers don't do their homework/due diligence/research when it comes to understanding what they have. Very few hobbyists care, and even fewer have a decent book collection, especially American hobbyists, and yet will assume they know what they are talking about. One of the great aspects of this hobby are all the books available, and being able to study them in order to better know the species we have is one of the joys this hobby provides. Much work has gone in most books that deal with the fishes we all love, and to make no effort to acquire them and read them is not a good thing. There seems to be a real aversion to books in this hobby, and I'm not sure excatly why that is. It would be interesting to find out if some of the people who have made odd comments on this thread have a healthy book collection covering the topic at hand. You are absolutely right Darrell in saying that the TWIBIA response is the worst arguement imaginable for anyone to use who claims to have an interest in these fish. Sadly, there are those hobbyists who have been around for decades and still use this sort of "reasoning".

User avatar
Florent
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 483
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 11:11 am
Location: Hérault, France

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Florent » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:52 pm

What about "C". microlepis ?

Mark Smith
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:58 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Mark Smith » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:11 pm

Indeed. It would be awesome to uncover this mysterious species also!

User avatar
Willem Heijns
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:18 pm
Location: Stiphout, Netherlands

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Willem Heijns » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:52 pm

@ Mark: I hope the following is solid enough for you.... 8)

This is an age of discoveries. Many aquarists travel to the tropics to find their own "new species". Many return with cichlids they had never seen before. Knowing the river(system)s they found their fish in, they check the "literature" and find names for their new discoveries. Not many really delve into the scientific literature to check the characters of the newfound species to compare with characters of their treasures in the home aquarium. Personally I have kept a cichlid I used to call ornatum 25 years ago. Its picture is in the CRC catalog. Of course I never knew the origin of the fish.

As for gephyrum, all I can contribute here is information from the original description by Carl Eigenmann (1922). Interesting statement in his paper concerning the type specimen: "Its coloration is so peculiar that it might well be a hybrid between C. atromaculatum and C. ornatum". In the following picture the lower fish is the (holo)type (240mm).

Image

The upper fish is one of the paratypes (78mm) from the same location (Río Dagua at Cordova). For additional comparison here's a picture of ornatum, also from Eigenmann (1922):

Image

The latter fish was caught in the Río Magui (Patia basin) and measures 225mm.

So there apparently was much doubt about the validity of gephyrum. But not in Kullander's mind, because he raised gephyrum to specific rank, as he did BTW for all subspecies of 'Heros' urophthalmus :? Striking detail: Kullander gives 120mm as the maximum length of this species. The type specimen is twice that size. 8)

Finally, when it comes to accurate identification of new cichlids in the trade, here's a short anecdote. When I first bred the new Amphilophus species from Laguna Xiloá, fry of both sagittae and xiloaensis were sent to the USA. Strange enough I saw them pictured in a stocklist where one species had received the name of the other and vice versa. I won't disclose the name of the importer. :shock:
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

Nuchal Man
Posts: 149
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:45 pm
Contact:

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Nuchal Man » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:10 pm

Very interesting Willem. Thanks for posting, I never knew Eigenmann thought it may be a hybrid between the two species. Do you have a PDF of his 1922 paper? I'd love to take a look at it.

Mark Smith
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:58 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Mark Smith » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:41 pm

Hi Willem. Your contributions are always beyond solid. Thanks for your rich, and detailed information and accompanying illustrations. I bow in homage to your great wisdom!

Clearly an area that will require further study and systematic collecting in order to know what is really going on.

User avatar
Willem Heijns
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:18 pm
Location: Stiphout, Netherlands

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Willem Heijns » Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:23 am

:oops: :oops:

Well, I wasn't looking for a compliment (but thanks anyway). I was merely trying to say that there should be room for less solid opinions on here too. 8)
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

Mark Smith
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:58 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Mark Smith » Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:33 am

My pleasure Willem. You deserve it. :)

I guess less solid opinions are fine so long as some sort of reasoning accompanies them.

Mark Smith
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:58 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Mark Smith » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:18 pm

Here is a photo of my 13 cm long specimen.

Willem, might you be willing to post a photo of what you had years ago as C. ornatum for comparison?
Attachments
Cichlasoma cf gephyrum.jpg

User avatar
Willem Heijns
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:18 pm
Location: Stiphout, Netherlands

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Willem Heijns » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:58 am

I found some more pictures. :D

Here's two that I took in FMNH. They represent the type of gephyrum:

Image

The exposure isn't very good, but you get an fair impression of the body markings. A head close-up:

Image



And here's ornatum from the 80's

Image

subadult



Image

juvenile
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

Mark Smith
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:58 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Mark Smith » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:17 am

Many thanks Willem! There do appear to be subtle differences between the two live specimens in the photos. How large was your specimen in the photo of the larger individual?

User avatar
Willem Heijns
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:18 pm
Location: Stiphout, Netherlands

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Willem Heijns » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:29 am

The larger one was about 4-5". The smaller one could have been 2". I had a group of 5 which indeed showed some differences between them. Goes to show there's variation in nature isn't there? :D 8)
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

Norcal_Cichlid
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:51 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Norcal_Cichlid » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:49 am

All I meant was that without solid evidence to the contrary I believe in sticking with what Rapps labelled them as. I doubt he is trying to mislead anyone and has the most current experience with this fish. Until more recent info is out there I'm sticking with cf. Ornatum but would be just as happy with my fish if they turned out to be Gephyrum. I don't think we should just arbitrarily change names of fish or give people that don't think you should a hard time, it just confuses things that much more.
Current stock-2 F1 Breeding pairs of Chuco Micropthalmus, F1 Theraps Lentiginosum (2 breeding pairs), Theraps Coeruleus (1 breeding pair), 7 5-8" F0 Ornatum "Rio Choco", 2 Beani "White" and about 400 Micropthalmus fry!

User avatar
Willem Heijns
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:18 pm
Location: Stiphout, Netherlands

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:27 am

The problem is that in life sciences there is no such thing as solid evidence. You just have to believe someone or do your own research and make up your own mind (=opinion). Believing someone is not the same as thinking that someone is always right or (on the other extreme) non-believing is not the same thing as thinking that same someone is misleading other people.
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

Mark Smith
CichlidRoom Expert
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:58 pm

Re: "Heros" ornatus

Post by Mark Smith » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:56 am

The collectors in Columbia are likely using the name ornatum as a moniker to better market the species they are exporting, since more hobbyists are familiar with the name ornatum than they are with gephyrum - the name ornatum clearly has more history among cichild hobbyists than does gephyrm. This sort of thing happens ocassionally in the hobby, from the collector to the wholesaler to the retail store, and can make the difference whether a fish is sold or not. The other possibility is that the Columbian collectors are not very familiar with the species they collect and sell.

Nor Cal Cichlids: What sort of books/literature on South American cichlids do you have in your posession?

Post Reply

Return to “South American Cichlids”