As you read this, there are friends and others still struggling to get their lives together after the freak ‘Superstorm’ Sandy that battered the East Coast, particularly New York and New Jersey in late October just before Halloween. This powerful storm lead to extended power outages, some for weeks, and much destruction, particularly along the Jersey Shore. We experienced some of these high winds even as far inland as Pennsylvania and my fishroom was also without power for about five days. Regrettably, I lost a few tanks of cold sensitive fish, but my losses were nothing compared to what people and aquarists on the coast had to deal with. We wish all of them a speedy recovery both in their personal and aquaristic lives.
Kicking off the January issue is a Cichlid News exclusive. Oliver Lucanus recounts his recent and ongoing experiences with the rarest of rare cichlids, Lamprologus lethops, the mythical blind cichlid from the depths of the Congo River. First described by Roberts and Stewart in 1976 based on a handful of badly-preserved specimens, the quest to catch and obtain live specimens has been the obsession of more than a few ichthyologists and aquarists ever since. Coming as they do from the deeper sections of the rapids below Malebo Pool has made collecting live specimens an almost insurmountable task with nearly all of the very few live specimens brought to the surface dying of ‘gas bubble disease’ (the bends). Oliver was able to rescue a few by a careful needle puncture to relieve the pressure. He was able in 2011 to rescue six (out of many) and has been maintaining them ever since. His lavishly illustrated article documents his experiences with these fish to date and presents what we believe are the first published photographs of living specimens. This presentation definitely heads up the ‘way cool’ list for all cichlid afficionados and we are happy and fortunate to share this outstanding achievement with you in the pages of Cichlid News, in our twenty-first anniversary year. And a big thank you to Oliver for allowing us to do so.
In the year 1900, two years after he described Tropheus moorii, George Boulenger described a second species in the genus, T. annectens. The types used for the diagnosis were in poor shape and there was some doubt where exactly they had been collected by Captain Celestine Hecq who served in the Belgium Forces in the Congo fighting the slave trade in the last decade of the 19th century. There has been, as a result, some confusion as to the origin and validity of the species annectens, particularly as it relates to a third species description, that of T. polli. In an interesting piece of detective work, Ad Konings reviews the situation surrounding T. annectens and T. polli and reaches the conclusion that polli is, in fact, a junior synonym of annectens. A fascinating read to be sure for you Tanganyika fans!
Patrick Tawil contributes yet another of his information dense, insightful articles, this time on Pseudotropheus sp. ‘williamsi north’. The rather late exploration, though now old, of the Tanzanian coast of Lake Malawi during the 1990s brought us lots of novelties, among which was an ochre yellow mbuna that resembled Pseudotropheus williamsi. This as yet to be formally-described species is named Pseudotropheus sp. ‘williamsi north’ and comes mainly from Manda and Makonde, in Tanzania. Apart from its yellow coloration, which is faint or absent in other forms in the P. williamsi complex, it is quite similar to other members of this super-species. Patrick thoroughly reviews the nomenclatural history, basic biology, and aquarium husbandry of this beautiful large mbuna.
Well-known German aquarist and author Uwe Werner introduces us to a little known and unfortunately rarely-available species from Cuba, the Jotura Nandopsis ramsdeni. It is one of two endemic cichlids from Cuba, the other being the Biajaca Nandopsis tetracanthus which is firmly established in the worldwide cichlid hobby. Uwe writes about the initial re-discovery and importation of live breeding stock of N. ramsdeni, as well as about the basic biology of this unique fish. The breathtaking photos of breeding males and their conical nuchal humps will capture your interest and leave asking: “where can I get some?”. Alas, easier said than done these days. While once briefly in the American hobby, I know of no current source for these fish. We need to get them back!
Wouldn’t you love to have a job that takes you regularly to Africa and which allows you enough ‘free time’ to explore the resident cichlid fauna? Lawrence Kent has just such a job working with the Gates Foundation and has frequent occasion to explore and sample the local cichlid fauna, most usually that of Lake Victoria. In another in what is becoming a series of very interesting articles, Lawrence shares the contents of his after-hours cast net from the Ugandan shores of Lake Victoria.
The issue is capped off by our regular columns “My Favorite Six Cichlids”, this time courtesy of longtime former TFH editor David Boruchowitz, and by Laif DeMason’s “What’s New?”. Truly a great issue with something for everyone. Toasting twenty years of bringing our readers the latest in cichlid information, from all of us here at Cichlid News, we with you a Happy New Year. Enjoy your Cichlids!
|Wayne S. Leibel, Editor
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