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Fishing Trip Follow Up.
March 16, 2010
5:02 am
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johnpeten
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We were only able to keep about 40 of the new captures. They have settled down very quickly in their tanks and are feeding. The other C urophthalmus we had to offer up as a sacrifice to the Mayan God of Wind and Storm, Hurakan Hurakan, to thank him for not capsizing our launch during its return, yesterday. The boys performed the ceremonies yesterday evening. Unlike you guys, we have to keep on good terms with the local deities. /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />

Many of the Thorichthys affini have lost their subtle colours but have enhanced their abdomen colour to bright orange to almost red. Previous affini that we have kept, rarely inflate their gular pouches, except when pairs are guarding a territory. Some of these guys at the slightest provocation inflate their pouches and they appear bright red. We know that T. meeki the Firemouth is not found in the Lake, only in the northern and southern drainages. This is a little puzzling.
Here are some photos after 24 hours in their tanks. One of the photos shows a fish in the background with the gular pouch inflated. I also think that a hybrid may have appeared here.

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March 16, 2010
7:47 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Lovely pictures and fishes. Is there any chance that T. meeki has been released into the Lake John?

Cake or death?
March 16, 2010
9:45 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ Mar 16 2010, 01:30 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is there any chance that T. meeki has been released into the Lake John?


Anything is possible Matt. However this habitat is very remote from the Main Lake. This dark orange may simply be the variation here. My original yellow meeki captures were from the North Shore below my house and they were bright yellow.
Rosen and Bailey reported finding affinia near Flores Island in 1968. We have pulled out yellow coloured affinis between Flores and the lagoon.
T. affinis are also found in Laguna Salpeten and the Lakes on the westerly road to Belize, Yaxja and Sacnab.
This is just about their only distribution apart from nutty reports from Argentina and Uruguay etc.
It is early days we will see how they develop in their tanks. Their aggresive behaviour is the puzzling part, T. meeki are aggressive and T. affinis are usually not. However slight overcrowding may be the cause. yet again it is only the most deeply coloured that inflate their gular pouches.
The photo is of one of the most aggressive guys.

You will notice that this tank has steel mesh, just in case this guy becomes too rumbustious. /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />

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March 17, 2010
7:16 am
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keith565
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really are stunning fish. not being a cichlid guy (yet), what are the obvious differences between this one and meeki (if there are any).

March 17, 2010
11:13 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (keith565 @ Mar 17 2010, 12:59 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
not being a cichlid guy (yet), what are the obvious differences between this one and meeki (if there are any).


Keith, Living in a land where Missionaries abound, /angry.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":angry:" border="0" alt="angry.gif" /> I hope to convert you to the faith in a small way. /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" />
The Thorichthys genus consists of 10 small cichlids. Basically thay all look similar in profile and markings. The difference is their colourings. They are all very attractive and none exceed 5 inches,
They are not fussy eaters and can be kept in household size tanks. They are not deadly aggressive but do make a bit of a fuss if disturbed while exercising their conjugal rights. The Firemouth T. meeki is a bit of a show off and loves inflating his bright red gular pouch but this is all show and no trousers.
I have asked Matt to send you a copy of a very informative short article introducing this genus.
John

PS The South Sea Islanders, in the late 1800s had the right attitude to Missionaries. They put them in the pot for dinner. /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />

March 17, 2010
3:04 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Duly sent. /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

Cake or death?
March 17, 2010
3:56 pm
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coelacanth
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Mar 17 2010, 10:56 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
PS The South Sea Islanders, in the late 1800s had the right attitude to Missionaries. They put them in the pot for dinner. /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />

Off topic, but I couldn't agree more, it's cultural vandalism. There should be reparation for all those peoples who have had their societies and communities invaded by these falsely-pious fools, taken from the vastly-swelled coffers of these religions that preach humility and abstinence.

March 17, 2010
5:04 pm
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Colin
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I agree, the modern "do gooders" should be made to pay for the crimes of the past!

Great pics John, always nice to see /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

March 19, 2010
9:06 am
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keith565
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thanks john and matt, great bit of info on the article you sent me.
on the conversion bit, you never know,lol

March 19, 2010
12:30 pm
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johnpeten
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I am now convinced that the fish caught in the Lily Lagoon are Thorichthys meeki. I have now made a complete study of this species and opinions from elsewhere agree with me. The Lily covered shallow lagoon is a perfect habitat for them.
Here are some of the latest photos.
The sat photo shows the location where we found the firemouths and also indicates where we found affinis on a previous expedition.
Further research of my records shows that all of the T. affinis that we have caught in the main Lake and in the southern arm of the Lake do not have the ocular blotch on the gill plates. T. meeki always have this very obvious blotch.

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March 20, 2010
9:59 am
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Matt
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Informative stuff John! Is that opercular blotch a defining character for T. meeki in general or only useful to separate it from T. affinis?

Cake or death?
March 20, 2010
1:35 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ Mar 20 2010, 03:42 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Informative stuff John! Is that opercular blotch a defining character for T. meeki in general or only useful to separate it from T. affinis?


Matt, there are 10 accepted species of Thorichthys. They are all supposed to have the ocular blotch with the exception of T.callolepis. This species has a small distribution in Mexico and is found in a different habitat to the others. It likes fast flowing streams and is also missing some of the other Thorichthys traits.
I have seen photos of T.affinis with and without the ocular blotch from different locations. The fish that I have collected, over the last 9 months, from different locations in the Lake, are missing the ocular blotch or it is very faintly marked.
It is guaranteed, as much as anything can be guaranteed with Cichlids, that the T. meeki has the distinctive blotch.
In the cichlid forums there are constant lively discussions(arguments) trying to identify cichlid species from different locations. Very little is "cut and dried" with this family even after 138 years of study.
We also have several Central American Orphans that were kicked out of their genus by the experts and have not been re-assigned. /angry.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":angry:" border="0" alt="angry.gif" />

March 20, 2010
2:41 pm
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David Marshall
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Hey

Just out of interest my friend, Jon Downes, tells me that he has a melananistic form of Firemouth in his care at this time. Have not seen these fish 'in the flesh' as yet.

Regards David

March 20, 2010
4:20 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (David Marshall @ Mar 20 2010, 08:24 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hey

Just out of interest my friend, Jon Downes, tells me that he has a melananistic form of Firemouth in his care at this time. Have not seen these fish 'in the flesh' as yet.

Regards David


Unable to comment without a photo. However melanurus and T.meeki are very different in shape and size. Some melanurus do have a pink/reddish throat.

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