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Mayan Cichlids
August 31, 2009
2:28 pm
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johnpeten
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I live in Guatemala on the North shore of Lake Peten. I have recently found that I can build aquariums 50 gallons and have started collecting tropical fish again after very many years. I have to import all my equipment and supplies. I can only obtain 5mm glass so I am pushing my luck but I install two top braces to stop the glass bending outwards.
So far from the Lake shallows I have collected Mayan Cichlids, Moon Silversides and the Peten Molly.
Trying to identify the Cichlids was a problem as the many photos did not agree with my fish. Then I discovered that there was 8 sub-species. The species name which describes the eyespot on the tail only appears on one of my collection so far. the others have a black horizontal ragged bar in front of the tail. When captured from the Lake they also had vertical bars but these have disappeared in the aquarium.
My cichlids range from half an inch to two inches. They will eventually grow to about 15 inches.
They have been introduced into Florida and Singapore as a food and sport fish. Here they are very popular in local restaurants. They are fried and served whole. This is a bit of a shock the first time one lands on your plate

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August 31, 2009
5:44 pm
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Matt
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Hi John welcome to the site and great first post; that sounds like a beautiful place to live. /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Do you have any pictures of the lake itself to show us?

Cake or death?
August 31, 2009
6:37 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ Aug 31 2009, 11:27 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi John welcome to the site and great first post; that sounds like a beautiful place to live. /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Do you have any pictures of the lake itself to show us?

Hi Matt
This is a photo of part of our 200 sq mile lake.
We added a baby Tropical Gar (Atractosteus tropicus) to our Lake fish collection. If it survives and settles I will post a picture.

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August 31, 2009
6:42 pm
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Matt
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Stunning! What other species can be found there John?

Cake or death?
August 31, 2009
7:11 pm
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David Marshall
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Hey John

Interesting post. Loved the Lake photograph.

Regards David

August 31, 2009
8:03 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ Aug 31 2009, 12:25 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Stunning! What other species can be found there John?

In Guatemala we have about 150 listed species. In Lake Peten Itza, according to the locals and what I have discovered we only have about 5.
Mayan Cichlid (Cichlasoma urophthalmus) Mojarra
Peten Molly (Poecilia petenensis)
Moon Silverside (Atherinella argentea) Sardina
Bay Snook (Petenia splendida) Pez Blanco
Tropical Gar (Atractosteus tropicus) Sili

The Bay Snook is a Cichlid although not aggressive has an enormouse mouth and can swallow fish half it's own size. This must be kept in it's own tank. This is a food fish and is farmed in several locations but not here.

The not so good photo of the baby Bay Snook loses its stripes as it grows up.

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August 31, 2009
9:37 pm
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keith565
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OMG, what a place to live, i've been after poecilia petenensis for years.
need more pics of the fish, i'm sure there are more in the lake, i'm interested in pics of any other livebearers that might be in there.
good to have you on the forum

August 31, 2009
10:29 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (keith565 @ Aug 31 2009, 03:20 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
OMG, what a place to live, i've been after poecilia petenensis for years.
need more pics of the fish, i'm sure there are more in the lake, i'm interested in pics of any other livebearers that might be in there.
good to have you on the forum

I had a couple of female Peten Mollys so I sent my young gardener down to the Lake to find some males. He came back with a one inch male and a mixture of half inch babies. They are happily staying together frolicking near the surface. As soon as they settle I will try and get some photos. At this rate I will have to make another tank.
Now that I am feeding the whole gang the new Tetramin with the added vitamins the cichlids in particular are growing at an alarming rate.

September 1, 2009
1:18 am
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Matt
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I want to see the "moon silverside" as well as more pics of the P. petenensis. *licks lips* Is it an Atherinella?

Cake or death?
September 1, 2009
2:25 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ Aug 31 2009, 07:01 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
I want to see the "moon silverside" as well as more pics of the P. petenensis. *licks lips* Is it an Atherinella?

The Silverside or Sardine as it is called by the locals and other Latin countries, is a fast and constant mover. The largest fish bosses the smaller ones. During their high speed chases it is amazing they don't hit something.

Having had a good look at the new "male Peten Molly" I am having doubts. It has the Molly fantail but that is about all. The dorsal fin is certainly not right. It is not co-operating with photo ops at the moment.

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September 1, 2009
3:45 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Aug 31 2009, 08:08 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Silverside or Sardine as it is called by the locals and other Latin countries, is a fast and constant mover. The largest fish bosses the smaller ones. During their high speed chases it is amazing they don't hit something.

Having had a good look at the new "male Peten Molly" I am having doubts. It has the Molly fantail but that is about all. The dorsal fin is certainly not right. It is not co-operating with photo ops at the moment.

Peten Molly
Now I have a problem. The first photo is of the male "Peten Molly" we collected today. We also collected a dozen babies. The females in the school are easily identified. The males in the school are miniature versions of the fish in the photo.

The second photo published by Goliad Farms is identified as a young male Peten Molly collected by Clemson University from Lake Peten. Its sword is just starting to show at the lower edge of the Caudal fin.
Other photos that I have seen of the male Peten Molly have also been with the large sailfin and similar in body shape.

So, now I have a puzzle. What have I collected from the Lake?

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September 1, 2009
4:46 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Aug 31 2009, 09:28 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>

Peten Molly
Now I have a problem. The first photo is of the male "Peten Molly" we collected today. We also collected a dozen babies. The females in the school are easily identified. The males in the school are miniature versions of the fish in the photo.

The second photo published by Goliad Farms is identified as a young male Peten Molly collected by Clemson University from Lake Peten. Its sword is just starting to show at the lower edge of the Caudal fin.
Other photos that I have seen of the male Peten Molly have also been with the large sailfin and similar in body shape.

So, now I have a puzzle. What have I collected from the Lake?

Problem solved. My collections are Poecilia gillii a very plain looking Molly. It is on the Guatemalan list but with no common name and I overlooked it.
The hunt is now on for the spectacular Peten Molly.

September 1, 2009
6:13 am
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keith565
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ah, i have gillii, not as plain as some, males and some females have colour in their dorsal. but still a nice molly.

September 1, 2009
12:22 pm
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coelacanth
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QUOTE
The Silverside or Sardine as it is called by the locals and other Latin countries, is a fast and constant mover. The largest fish bosses the smaller ones. During their high speed chases it is amazing they don't hit something.

That pic is an Astyanax sp., a tetra.

September 1, 2009
1:13 pm
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Matt
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Yeah I was expecting something more like:

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Cake or death?
September 1, 2009
1:31 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (coelacanth @ Sep 1 2009, 06:05 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
That pic is an Astyanax sp., a tetra.

Yes indeed. Astyanax fasciatus, the banded astyanax. Also called Sardinita in local areas.
By coincidence listed next to the silverside in the Guatemalan list.
A quick scan had shown this as the blind cave fish but this is the sub species Mexicana.
Thank you for your help, we will eventually get our local fish sorted out.

September 1, 2009
10:05 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Sep 1 2009, 07:14 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes indeed. Astyanax fasciatus, the banded astyanax. Also called Sardinita in local areas.
By coincidence listed next to the silverside in the Guatemalan list.
A quick scan had shown this as the blind cave fish but this is the sub species Mexicana.
Thank you for your help, we will eventually get our local fish sorted out.

Petenia splendida.
I now have a better photo of this very young Cichlid. It is about 3 cms long. We captured 3 but two of them did not survive. We did examine the incredible mouths of the non survivors. Unlike normal cichlid mouths they opened into large scoops.
First found in Lake Peten, hence it's name and described by Albert Gunther in 1862. Gunther was German but worked for the British Museum, Natural History. I am unable to ascertain if Gunther visited Lake Peten to decribe the various fish assigned to his name or if he worked from dried specimens. To visit the extremely remote Lake Peten in 1862 when the country was in turmoil, one had to be a very brave and adventurous soul. A dirt road was not built connecting this area with the rest of Guatemala until 1950. Even in 1994 when I first travelled here one carried food and water and other essentials for 24 hour delays..

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September 2, 2009
1:05 am
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Matt
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Hi John are you sure the Poecilia you collected is gillii? According to this the slender fish from Lake Pétèn is indeed P. petenensis and the long-finned one is now known as P. kykesis. The two are listed on Fishbase as such too (though I'm not sure how much I trust that website to be fair).

Cake or death?
September 2, 2009
2:08 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ Sep 1 2009, 06:48 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi John are you sure the Poecilia you collected is gillii? According to this the slender fish from Lake Pétèn is indeed P. petenensis and the long-finned one is now known as P. kykesis. The two are listed on Fishbase as such too (though I'm not sure how much I trust that website to be fair).

Hi Matt yes I have read all the confused data. This is some official stuff:-

Poeser, F. N.: Poecilia kykesis nom. nov., a new name for Mollienesia petenensis (Günther, 1866), and redescription, revalidation and the designation of a lectotype for Poecilia petenensis (Günther, 1866) (Teleostei: Poeciliidae). Bijdr. Dierkd., 70 (nº 4): 243-246. 2002.

To help you understand that, I hope this helps.

A lectotype is a biological specimen or illustration later selected (usually from among the isotype(s), syntype(s), or paratype(s)) to serve as definitive type example of a species or subspecies when the original author of the name did not designate a holotype.

if you were wondering about holotype;-
archetypal organism: an individual plant or animal that serves as the basis for the description of its species.
Its name is usually taken as the name of the species.
Also called holotype

I hope that is now perfectly clear. LOL

I guess it means that they are synonymous.

September 2, 2009
2:23 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Sep 1 2009, 07:51 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Matt yes I have read all the confused data. This is some official stuff:-

Poeser, F. N.: Poecilia kykesis nom. nov., a new name for Mollienesia petenensis (Günther, 1866), and redescription, revalidation and the designation of a lectotype for Poecilia petenensis (Günther, 1866) (Teleostei: Poeciliidae). Bijdr. Dierkd., 70 (nº 4): 243-246. 2002.

To help you understand that, I hope this helps.

A lectotype is a biological specimen or illustration later selected (usually from among the isotype(s), syntype(s), or paratype(s)) to serve as definitive type example of a species or subspecies when the original author of the name did not designate a holotype.

if you were wondering about holotype;-
archetypal organism: an individual plant or animal that serves as the basis for the description of its species.
Its name is usually taken as the name of the species.
Also called holotype

I hope that is now perfectly clear. LOL

I guess it means that they are synonymous.

I have just read your hyperlink.
Poecilia petenensis Günther, 1866 (= Mollienesia gracilis Regan, 1913) is redescribed and is revalidated from synonymy of P. sphenops Valenciennes, 1846 and a lectotype is designated. Mollienesia petenensis Günther, 1866 is renamed as P. kykesis to avoid homonymy with Poecilia petenensis.

Günther (1866) used the number of dorsal fin rays as a means of distinction between Poecilia Bloch and Schneider, 1801 and Mollienesia LeSueur, 1821. This is illustrated when he described both Poecilia petenensis Günther, 1866, a relatively large, slender short-finned molly (Fig. 2) and Mollienesia petenensis Günther, 1866, an equally large, but high profile sailfin molly (Fig. 1).

This confirms what you said.

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