To begin our spring issue, we offer a review by first-time author Eric Genevelle of variation in Ophthalmotilapia ventralis. These “dancing jewels” of Lake Tanganyika have captivated the hobby for years; expanded explorations in the lake in recent times have revealed the presence of impressive variability in male breeding dress in this popular featherfin, which, of course, translates to heightened desirability to hobbyists. Get out that wish list! 
   Our second feature of length also comes from new contributors, this time a team of biologists who have spent many years studying the cichlids of Nicaragua. Ken McKaye, Jay Stauffer and Jeffrey McCrary evaluate evidence for sympatric speciation in the Midas cichlid species complex of Lake Nicaragua. Why are we not surprised that cichlids might be doing still something else — forming new species without geographic isolation — that almost no other group of vertebrates has ever been observed to do? Draw your own conclusions based on this informative presentation. 
   Beyond this, we present a “triad” of reports, introducing new information on little-known cichlids from around the world. William Cain relates his experiences breeding Chuco sp. “Guabo,” a cichlasomine collected in the early 90s in Panama by Patrick de Rham and Jean-Claude Nourissat; Justyn Miller does the same for a virtually-unknown haplochromine — ‘Haplochromis’ sp. “Pallisa Black Slick” — from a satellite lake north of Lake Victoria in Uganda; and Ad Konings tells us about observations in the wild on breeding behavior in Stigmatochromis pleurospilus from Lake Malawi. Ron Coleman’s Cichlids and Science essay dares to broach the topic of “Bad Cichlids”; boy, does he have some “splaining” to do! And, to conclude, there’s always room for What’s New.

George Barlow is a name that often comes up in conversations about cichlids. He and his students (Paul Loiselle, Ron Coleman, and Ken McKaye, to name only a few) have not only made many significant contributions to the study of cichlids, they form perhaps the most important “bridge” between the world of academia and the cichlid hobby, as reflected by their regular contributions to Cichlid News and other hobby-related publications. Late last year, as many of you already know, Dr. Barlow further solidified this bond by authoring The Cichlid Fishes: Nature’s Grand Experiment in Evolution (Perseus Publishing, ISBN: 0-7382-0376-9). In the book Dr. Barlow reviews information accumulated over the past 50 years on the behavioral ecology of cichlids, accumulating all the “stories” that have fascinated us for so long and presenting them in a style we can all appreciate and enjoy. Give it a look; I’m sure you’ll glean hours of reading pleasure.


Jeffrey N. Taylor, Editor 

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