This issue is full of mysteries, some resolved and some waiting for an inquisitive person—perhaps you—to figure out what is going on. Cichlids never cease to amaze. Even to a person such as myself who spends most of their waking hours working and thinking about fishes, and cichlids in particular, there is always something new and different.  

    Thomas Andersen clears up the differences between Xenotilapia sima and X. boulengeri. One of the challenges of sorting out cichlids is that bodies preserved in alcohol—the typical working material for scientists studying species and species relationships—capture only a small portion of the diverse qualities of a cichlid. A live fish in an aquarium or in the wild exhibits behavior and color that we have no way to preserve, other than with photographs and the written word. Andersen discovers that once you actually see these two fishes, live and doing their wonderful behavior, the distinctions are clear. Greg Steeves describes the breeding of Astatotilapia desfontainii. This fish comes from Algeria. I have to admit that I did not even know that there were cichlids in Algeria, and yet, there they are, tucked away in desert oases. Ad Konings sorts out the “tyrants” (genus Tyrannochromis) from Lake Malawi. These large predatory cichlids are often confused because of their extensive variation, even within a population. Persistent variation is often a sign that complex things are going on. Some stories we do not yet know how to read. Juan Miguel Artigas Azas describes ‘Cichlasoma’ salvini. The fish itself is no mystery. With its stunning colors and fierce parenting behavior, it is hard to miss. And yet, it is still a mystery as to which fish it is most closely related. Finally, Rich Bireley describes some strange breeding going on in his very large aquarium, involving Haplotaxodon and Rhamphochromis.  

Do your fish have a story to tell?  Watch them closely and you just might find your own mystery to investigate. 

Ron Coleman, Editor

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