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Tag: aquarium

Loricariids of the Middle Xingu River, 2nd Edition

July 26th, 2013 — 10:06am

© Panta Rhei

The German publishing firm ‘Panta Rhei’ is about to print an updated second edition of the popular book ‘Loricariids of the Middle Xingu River’ by Mauricio Camargo, Heriberto Gimênes Junior, and Lúcia Helena Rapp Py-Daniel. Continue reading »

Category: New Products, News | Tags: , , , , , , | Comment »

New loaches from Myanmar

July 26th, 2013 — 9:03am

Schistura puncticeps, ZRC 53783, paratype, 55.2 mm SL; Myanmar: Shan State: mouth of Nam Paw, shortly after capture. © Bohlen and Šlechtová

A number of new loaches are covered in the latest volume of the journal ‘Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters‘, and among them are three species from Myanmar described by Jörg Bohlen and Vendula Šlechtová.

The first, Schistura puncticeps, is currently known only from its type locality, the mouth of Nam Paw stream at its confluence with the Myitnge River, itself a tributary of the Irrawaddy (aka Ayeyarwady) River in Shan state, northeastern Myanmar.

It can be told apart from other Schistura species by the following combination of characters:  dorsal and lateral surfaces of the head covered by dark brown dots; 5-8 large brown blotches along the lateral midline of the body; a large head (head length 20.7-24.9 % SL); a short caudal peduncle (caudal peduncle length 12.2-13.4 % SL); a large eye (4.8-6.6 % SL); no discernable sexual dimorphism.

The specific name is derived from the Latin punctum, meaning ‘dot’, and ceps, a derivation of caput meaning ‘head’, in allusion to the prominently spotted head.

For further information refer to the full, open access paper: Bohlen, J. and Vendula Šlechtová. 2013. Schistura puncticeps, a new species of loach from Myanmar (Cypriniformes: Nemacheilidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 24(1): 85-92

The other two appear to be miniature species and closely-related to one another.

Schistura rubrimaculata; ZRC 53774, paratype, 26.1 mm SL; Myanmar: Magway division: stream Man Chaung; shortly after capture. Right side, reversed. © Bohlen and Šlechtová

S. rubrimaculata is named in reference to the red spot present on either side of the caudal peduncle in live specimens, and can be distinguished from congeners by the following combination of characters: small size (largest known specimen 27.7 mm SL); slender body shape (maximum body depth 103-123 % of body depth at nape); ventral half of body and head white (with silver sheen in life); colour pattern on body composed of a prominent black midlateral stripe and up to six small dorsal saddles; all fins hyaline; dark blotch on base of central unbranched caudal-fin rays, with a median incision at its posterior margin; and a distinct red dot on the side of the caudal peduncle in life, fading when preserved.

It’s been collected from the Man Chaung and Shwe Chaung river systems, both of which are Irrawaddy tributaries draining the eastern slope of the Rakhine Yoma mountains.

Schistura pawensis; ZRC 53776, holotype, 31.3 mm SL; Myanmar: Shan State: Hsipaw; shortly after capture. Right side, reversed. © Bohlen and Šlechtová

Schistura pawensis was discovered at the same locality as S. puncticeps and is named in reference to the Nam Paw stream.

Its distinguishing characters are as follows:  body small (largest known specimen 31.3 mm SL); slender body shape (head depth at nape 1.1-1.2 times in body depth); all specimens with a prominent black midlateral stripe; entire ventral side silvery-white; 6 ½ or 7½ branched dorsal-fin rays; 7-8 + 8 branched caudal-fin rays; anus positioned halfway between pelvic-fin origin and anal-fin origin.

For further information see the full, open access paper: Bohlen, J. and Vendula Šlechtová. 2013. Two new species of Schistura from Myanmar (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae).  Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 24(1): 21-30.

All three species were collected in shallow, clear, flowing water over beds of gravel and do not appear to have entered the ornamental trade to date.

Thanks to Jörg Bohlen.

Category: Blogs, Ichthyology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comment »

Is it art?

July 17th, 2013 — 1:20pm

‘Oiran’ © caramacci_

The 2013 ‘Art Aquarium’ exhibition opened on 12th July in Tokyo and features a series of aquaria designed by contemporary artist Hidetomo Kimura.

The theme of this year’s installations is ‘Cool Goldfish of Edo’ in reference to the period of time when keeping goldfish first became popular in Japan and includes over 5000 fish of various ornamental strains including parrot cichlids and several types of goldfish.

The highly-modified aquaria also feature video and light displays, with the oversized goldfish bowl ‘Oiran’, containing 1000 goldfish, the star attraction.

Others include an  8-meter long ‘Four Seasons Aquarium’, kaleidoscope-themed ‘Kaleidorium’ and screen (byoubu) ‘Byoburium’.

The exhibition is at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall and runs until 24th September.

The displays certainly make an immediate visual impression but what do you think about the concept in general? Should these be considered as works of art, expensive furniture, or something else?

‘Kaleidorium’ © Art Aquarium

© Art Aquarium

Part of the exhibition with ‘Oiuran’ to the left © Art Aquarium


‘Byoburium’ © Art Aquarium

‘Andonrium’ © Art Aquarium

‘Four Seasons’ © Art Aquarium

© Art Aquarium

Category: Blogs, Events | Tags: , , , , , | 5 comments »

New Corydoras from southern Brazil

July 11th, 2013 — 6:23pm

© Tencatt et al.

A new species of the catfish genus Corydoras has been described in the journal ‘Neotropical Ichthyology’. Continue reading »

Category: New Species, News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 comments »

A little panther?

July 4th, 2013 — 9:51am

One of the paratype of H. jaguar © Zanata et al.

An attractive new pleco from the rio Paraguaçu basin in Bahia State, easten Brazil is described in the latest volume of the journal ‘Neotropìcal Ichthyology’.

Hypostomus jaguar sp. nov. was collected from tributaries measuring up to 60 metres across and 1.5 m deep with rocky substrates and dark, moderate to fast-flowing water, where it occurs sympatrically with Hypostomus chrysostiktos. Continue reading »

Category: New Species, News | Tags: , , , , , | Comment »

New killifish from Cameroon

June 24th, 2013 — 10:39am

© Rudolf Pohlmann

A new species of the genus Aphyosemion has been described in the journal ‘Zootaxa’. Continue reading »

Category: New Species, News | Tags: , , , , | Comment »

Doing Things Their Way

June 17th, 2013 — 7:43pm

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

The Aquarium of Brussels is a hidden gem in the Belgian capital…

In contrast to our usual waffle this experiment blog post is going to be heavy on photos and low on word count, so let’s see how it goes.

While visiting Belgium a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend an enjoyable few hours at the wonderfully impressive Aquarium of Brussels.

It’s possibly the cleanest such set up I’ve ever seen, and puts many zoos and larger ‘chain’-style public aquaria to shame.

Cooler still, the vast majority of installations are dedicated to freshwater fish and amphibians with a number of rare and endangered species among them.

They also have an off-public area which is equally as spotless as the main displays and lots more endangered fish are being bred and raised there.

A few pics should help illustrate what I’m talking about…

Ptychochromis oligacanthus from Madagascar:

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Bedotia sp. ‘Namorona’ is an undescribed (and huge!) species restricted to parts of the Namorona River, also in Madagascar. The zoo are having trouble breeding these so any tips would be much appreciated.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Malagasy display with Bedotia sp. ‘Namorona’, the killifish Pachypanchax sakaramyi and Ptychochromis oligacanthus.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Fundulopanchax display – great to see killis getting some attention.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Iberian ribbed newt, Pleurodeles waltl. These are being bred in quite large numbers behind the scenes…

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

…speaking of which. Here’s one of the ‘backstage’ area tanks with the goodeid Ilyodon furcidens.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Goodeids, newts and poison frogs, all breeding at the aquarium.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

More Ptychochromis oligacanthus. The tank itself is interesting as like all of those at the aquarium it’s made of a type of marine wood with a glass front panel.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Young cichlids growing on.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Quarantine for future display fish.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Breeding and raising tanks for endangered species containing the Corfu killifishValencia letourneuxi, various cichlids, Melanotaenia spp., goodeids, etc.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

This area must require as much upkeep as the display area to maintain these standards and the whole set-up is a massive credit to the managers and staff.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Back in the main aquarium, this display contained endangered goodeids.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Finally, a lovely little paludarium housing a breeding population of the Oriental fire-bellied toad, Bombina orientalis plus some White Cloud Mountain minnows in the water.

© Matt Ford/Seriously Fish

Aside from the standard of husbandry and attention to detail on display there were other things to admire here.

For example, this is a relatively small, low budget project funded by the Belgian National Lottery, yet is Brussels’ only public aquarium and on a Saturday afternoon was busy with a number of larger kids’ groups inside.

The aquarium offer audio tours in several languages which offer information about the various animals on display including the reasons why they are being maintained in the case of endangered species, while kids are able to undertake a series of activities on the way round.

Some of these involve ticking off the species on display, or even drawing them, and it was the first time I’d heard young children talking excitedly about goodeids in a public aquarium, for example.

Since the majority of such aquaria in the world tend to feature an identical series of displays (coral reef, clown fish, ray touch pool, shark tunnel, piranhas, Amazon display, rinse, repeat) this modest yet inspiring place is well worth a visit.

It was brilliant to see a focus on freshwater rather than marine species given that the ongoing environmental crisis affecting their habitats around the planet continues to be largely ignored by conservation groups and mainstream media alike.

Matt Ford

Aquarium of Brussels home page: http://www.aquariologie.be/

Category: Articles, Conservation | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 comments »

Survey closed!

June 7th, 2013 — 9:17pm

© Andreas Werth

A huge thanks to all that participated in our mini survey this week!

This exercise has been incredibly useful – the depth of feedback received far exceeded our expectations and has offered genuine food for thought in terms of deciding where we go next.

We’ll reveal the results, textual abuse sustained, and of course announce our trio of Amazonas subscription winners very soon.

Thanks again

The SF Team (Team SF?)

Category: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 comments »

Apple snails eggs contain unique poison

June 5th, 2013 — 3:34pm

Apple snails are now banned from the European aquatic trade after becoming established in Spain © Polarlys

Apple snails of the genus Pomacea have been popular aquarium inhabitants for decades but were recently banned from the European trade following a request from Spanish authorities due to one species, P. insularum, becoming established in certain wetlands following release by aquarists.

The congener P. canaliculata has been introduced to Hawaii and various countries in Southeast Asia where it’s considered a highly invasive pest since it not only competes with native molluscs but feeds on aquatic plants and can devastate rice and other semi-aquatic crops.

It’s considered one of the 100 world’s worst invaders, according to the Global Invasive Species Database.

New research published in the open access journal PLoS ONE this week has revealed that the eggs of P. canaliculata are filled with a powerful neurotoxin making them unpalatable to virtually all potential predators with the only known exception being the fire ant, Solenopsis geminata, although no-one is quite sure how it’s able to eat them.

Two invasive species together at a habitat in China; bright pink Pomacea eggs with the African aquatic plant Pistia stratiotes © Shan Lv

Apple snail eggs are unusual anyway insofar that they’re brightly-coloured, pink-reddish in the case of P. canaliculata, and deposited outside of the water, characters that not only make them visible but also vulnerable to both predators and parasites.

The bright colour is thought to act as a visual deterrent to predators while a study published in 2010 revealed that proteins deposited around a fertilised egg, within the perivitelline fluid, are involved in egg defence.

One of these proteins, PcPV2, is a neurotoxin with a strong lethal effect on the central nervous system of mice and the new research demonstrates that this substance is pretty unusual in a number of ways.

For example its structure is of a type known as ‘AB toxins’ which were previously known only in certain bacteria and plants, and represents the first record of a defense system employed by plants against predators in an animal.

To date the tropical fire ant is the only species able to eat Pomacea eggs without ill effects © Antweb.org

AB toxins tend to be ingested orally and can remain active after passing through the gastrointestinal tract of higher animals where extremes of pH restrict the activity of some other types of toxin.

This suggests that the protein evolved in order to confer a survival advantage to the eggs and has resulted in a virtual absence of predators as well as pointing towards previously unknown similarities between toxic plant seeds and poisonous eggs.

It may also provide clues as to why apple snails are able to colonise new habitats so successfully, and raises inevitable questions regarding the role of the aquarium trade in facilitating some of these introductions.

For further information refer to the full, open access paper: Dreon, M. S., M. V. Frassa, M. Ceolín, S. Ituarte, J-W. Qiu, J. Sun, P. E. Fernández and H. Heras. 2013. Novel Animal Defenses against Predation: A Snail Egg Neurotoxin Combining Lectin and Pore-Forming Chains That Resembles Plant Defense and Bacteria Attack Toxins. PLoS ONE 8(5): e63782

Category: Aquatic Invertebrates, Blogs | Tags: , , , , | One comment »

Is freshwater advocacy group the solution?

June 3rd, 2013 — 8:46pm

© Michael Lo

In the second part of an interview with Paul Jepson from the University of Oxford, Will Darwall, Head of the IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Unit, suggests that formation of a single, unified group of scientists and conservationists may help give voice to the crisis affecting the planet’s freshwaters. Continue reading »

Category: Conservation, News | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 comments »

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