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The Mysterious Margaritifer
June 15, 2010
5:20 pm
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johnpeten
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During a fishing trip at the beginning of March we collected several young adult V. melanurus and a couple of fish that we did not immediately identify.
The fish were put in a tank and ignored for several days. I then started taking photos of the melanurus and realized that we had two oddballs in the tank.
I put these up for ID on this forum and my cichlid forum. No suggestions here except a possible hybrid. There were similar responses on the other forum. I then forgot the matter and several weeks later the tank suddenly went bad and we lost the fish.
On May 19th on the other forum a member resurrected the thread. It had been suggested that it could be a juvenile of the mysterious Amphilophus margaritifer. A mention had been made that Don Conkel had published a book in 1993 showing a picture of margitifer which he had. So I contacted Don Conkel and he sent me photos of the the juvenile that he captured and a photo of the adult. He also sent a copy of the re-description of Amphilophus margaritifer by Regan of the British Natural History Museum in 1906 from the original specimen sent to Gunther by Osbert Salvin in 1862.
Luckily I had retained all the photos that I had taken during the March Expedition in original high resolution format.
I then compared the Regan description with my photos, the match was exact which Don Conkel also confirmed.
This included the width and position of the 7 vertical bars in relation to the numbered spines on the dorsal fin. Spots on the caudal fin and spots on the soft end of the dorsal fin. The appearance of the scales and the bars on the head around the eyes. The irregular blotch partially on the caudal fin and partially on the peduncle was also mentioned.
The meristics (scale arrangement) were conducted by Carl and Laura Hubbs. I am not able to understand this yet. If anybody does I will be happy to send the data and Hi res photo.
The reaction from the cichlid experts so far (apart from Don Conkel) has been mute to say the least. The non experts keep saying Hybrid, Hybrid.
Our Lake Cichlids are fussy about their mates and I have not encountered any misbehavior so far. /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" />
So here are the photos.

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June 15, 2010
5:37 pm
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Mark Duffill
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Excellent work John and lovely fish /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

June 16, 2010
7:01 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Fascinating stuff John, and I'd be more than happy to try and decipher the merisitic data for you.

Cake or death?
June 16, 2010
9:18 am
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (Matt @ Jun 16 2010, 12:44 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Fascinating stuff John, and I'd be more than happy to try and decipher the merisitic data for you.


Hi res image attached.

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June 17, 2010
12:18 pm
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coelacanth
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I think they could well be right!

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