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Vieja. Melanurus

Home Forums Fresh and Brackish Water Fishes Vieja. Melanurus

This topic contains 3 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  johnpeten 10 years ago.

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  • #300394

    johnpeten
    Participant

    This is a photo of a 3″ V. Melanurus (if it is a melanurus and not a synspila)
    This is straight out of the Lake before it had a chance to realise it was in jail and lose it’s colours.
    I now have my young fisherman together with his uncle fired up to take their canoa into deeper waters in search of a larger specimen. However we may be looking in the wrong place. It could be hiding under the steep banks of the Lake, inaccessible by land. This area is several miles from where we find the juveniles.

    Attached files

    #315328

    johnpeten
    Participant

    I have finally found a reference to the discussion concerning V. melanurus and V. synspila.

    Here’s a quote from Juan Miguel Artiz on a discussion about this topic: on the Cichlid Room Companion.

    Beyond the differences in color that different geographic populations of Paratheraps synspilus show, there is a clear diagnosis that Carl Hubbs (1936) established to separate his Cichlasoma synspilum from Albert Gunther’s (1862) Heros melanurus, a downward slope in the caudal band (Hubbs, 1936), in P. melanurus being straight pointing horizontally to the eye while in P. synspilus has a slight downward angle pointing directly to the chin. Well, the thing is, the diagnosis does not seem to comply for all the populations of P. synspilus, as this population from Cenote Escondido in the eastern part of Yucatan peninsula attests. Of course, the specific name melanurus means something like black tail, and certainly P. melanurus shows more black than other Paratheraps synspilus populations, but this is not either an exclusive trait of the species. You may think well the species in the picture is then P. melanurus (and it may actually be) but it happens that P. melanurus types from lake Peten, collected by the Englishmen Godman and Salvin in one of their expeditions to Central America, is a very particular variation found just in Lake Peten and smaller lakes around and P. synspilus has its type locality 28 km away in the upper Usumacinta river at San Pedro de Martir.

    So, is the diagnosis of P. synspilus enough to support the validity of the species? Or should we be naming both Parateraps melanurus? This doubt has already being expressed by Robert Miller (1966) suggesting the synonymy of both species, something I am inclined to agree upon, specially when you consider how other geographical variations of P. synspilus/melanurus differ from fish from type locality (e.g. green spots and on the body in Chiapas and Campeche populations).

    #315331

    johnpeten
    Participant

    I invited the grandfather of my young fisherman into my house, this morning, to look at my cichlids. When he saw the “C” . salvini he laughed and said Policia. With the flashing bright red belly this now has a new local nickname. For the Mayan Cichlids he said “Bool” I queried this and said I thought this was Mojarra, Oh no he said, pointing to the V. Melanurus, that is Mojarra.
    Mojarra is a popular food fish here. Apparently adults are not a problem to catch. So during the coming week his canoa will be crewed and commissioned to catch some adult V. melanurus. I emphasized that I wanted live specimens but not gigantic. He mentioned that these fish sometimes have a bump on their heads. (Nuchal hump)

    He also mentioned that some gringos had been recently collecting fish from the Lake and from the small nearby lake at Sacpuy. This may explain why V. melanurus is appearing in a select number of collections in the UK.

    If we are able to produce certified photographs of adult male and female Vieja. melanurus captured in Lake Peten Itza this may help end the present controversy over the difference between V, melanurus and V. synspila.

    #315339

    johnpeten
    Participant

    A couple of young boys brought me this cichlid this morning. It is the largest that I have seen so far at 5 inches. The colour is a bit of a surprise but I guess it is a little upset, perhaps tomorrow it will have calmed down.

    Attached files

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