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Fishing Trip, Using Cast Nets.
May 10, 2010
12:11 am
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johnpeten
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We had blue skies with a few puffy clouds; the temperature was in the high 90s with a pleasant breeze.
Unfortunately my trained assistant had to attend an important Church Ceremony. So I was left with a group of eager but only partly trained helpers. We explored the shallows as far as the Western end of the Lake. This part of the Lake is usually very murky but we found it almost crystal clear. We caught only small fish, Sardinas Astyanax aeneus but with little colour unlike the river variety. A few Vieja. melanurus and a lot of very young Thorichthys affinis.
In a remote location we saw a strange apparition in the water. With binoculars we saw it was a man using a spear gun. Not exactly cricket in my book. /angry.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":angry:" border="0" alt="angry.gif" /> This is most unusual in this neck of the woods.

At one point the boys jumped overboard and used the larger cast net as a seine. They bagged a couple of young cichlids which I have yet to identify.

Wherever we went we found an accumulation of Water Hyacinths. These can be a menace blocking waterways but very attractive.

We had a pleasant cruise back to our dock with a good breeze keeping us cool.

The boys distributed about 70 fish in 3 x 120 liter tanks and I put my feet up with a cup of coffee.

Later I went to check on one of the outside tanks. There proudly patrolling up and down was what I believe to be the elusive Peten Sail fin Molly, Poecilia petenensis or kykensis. (Both are valid species) This was a shock as I had not realized that we had caught it. There was also a largish Gambusia.

This week the younger boys will spend time with the training video and the launch is booked for next Saturday to visit again the Lagoon at the end of the Southern Arm of the Lake.

I have discovered that another type of net is sometimes used here. They call it a Pavillon, I think this must be a type of Seine and I must now find one

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May 10, 2010
1:35 am
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Plaamoo
Bellingham, Washington U.S.A.
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Beautiful John! You have an enviable life there, at least it looks that way from here. What was the guy spearing?

May 10, 2010
1:43 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (plaamoo @ May 9 2010, 07:18 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
What was the guy spearing?


We were too far away to ask. I took the photo with a 12 x zoom.

May 10, 2010
5:20 am
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johnpeten
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The two oddball cichlids are very young Parachromis friedrichsthali and Cichlasoma salvini. These are both very common finds in the Lake.

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May 10, 2010
6:19 am
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johnpeten
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Male P. petenensis mollies have gray-turquoise to gray-green bodies . The caudal (tail) is orange in the center and sky blue or turquoise above and below. The caudal has a short black sword on the lower margin. The dorsal is immense and has rows of black bars and an orange border.

Putting it politely a great deal of discussion has taken place concerning the Poecilia petenensis or/and the kykesis. Quite frankly a great deal of nonsense has been put about.
SAC lists them as separate species. Above is the most sensible description that I have read. Some people have even said that the Peten Molly does not have a sailfin. Actually the female doesn't.
Anyway, I can now say that I have found a male P. petenensis in Lake Peten and the above description is correct and have the photos to prove it.
Here is a closeup of the caudal fin showing the short black "swordtail".
The tank housing this molly could be cleaner and I hopefully will be able take better photos.

Fred. N. Poeser
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, Department of Ichthyology, Zoological Museum, University of Amsterdam
Fred went through the differences between kykesis and petenensis in great detail and his final comment was that petenensis is endemic to Lake Peten.

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May 10, 2010
7:24 am
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Bluedave
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Crackin' to see that you've found the elusive molly John and looks like a great trip out mate.

May 11, 2010
11:23 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Fantastic work John - were the mollies in abundance?

Cake or death?
May 11, 2010
1:06 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ May 11 2010, 05:06 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Fantastic work John - were the mollies in abundance?


We only caught the large male and a smaller male. The boys were only drawing my attention to the cichlids that we caught so that I could identify them. The others they simply dumped into the holding buckets. I don't know therefore where we caught them. We were working along the entire shore of the Western extension of the Lake. We also fished in the basin in front of San Benito. On our way home we also fished the sheltered southern peninsular before we crossed the main Lake.
From my previous studies of other peoples activities I would expect to find the Mollies and some other non cichlids in the basin between San Benito and Flores Island. We will fish this area again next Saturday on our way to the Lagoon at the end of the Southern Extension of the Lake.

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May 11, 2010
6:57 pm
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johnpeten
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