Fish have a system of sense organs used to detect motion and vibrations in the water. This sensory system is known as lateral lines and can be seen as a faint lines running lengthwise along the side of fish. These receptors can also be found around the eyes and lower jaw. Lateral lines help fish detect nearby predators and aid in navigation. Jacqueline Webb, a University of Rhode Island professor of biology, has demonstrated that cichlids in the genus Aulonocara, have widened lateral line canals that are highly sensitive to vibrations and water flows. Aulonocara don’t just use their sensory abilities to detect general water movement around them, but also use it for find prey under sediment by picking up tiny vibrations caused by the prey’s movement. For more on this study, visit Science Daily. You can also find more information on Aulonacara in our Peacock Corner.
Symphysodon aequifasciatus (Discus). Credit: Oregon State University
It appears that the over use of antibiotics in the ornamental fish industry (cichlids included) has created drug resistant bacteria. Antibiotics are frequently used on healthy fish during shipping and captivity as a preventative measure. A study found some level of resistance to 9 different antibiotics used in the hobby. Resistance to tetracycline was found 77% of the time. As the drug resistance gets stronger, medications will no longer be effective. What once was easily treatable could become a death sentence. Another consequence of stronger, untreatable bacteria is an increase risk to people. Although transmission to humans is uncommon, it can become more frequent. For more information on this study visit Phys.org.
Today it was brought to our attention that the instructions on how to post pictures to the forum were outdated and not working (thanks Chuck). Turns out most of the image hosting websites like Photobucket and Flickr have changed the way pictures are shared. So, we’ve done some updating of our own. Not only do we have instructions for 3 image hosting websites, but it only seemed appropriate that we include some pictures. If the image hosting website you use isn’t listed, it shouldn’t be much different from the instructions we put up. There may be some slight variations, but the concept is the same. There are also instructions for posting images the “old fashion” way and for embedding YouTube videos. If you are having problems posting pictures or have been reluctant to do it, take a look at the How To Post Pictures and Embed Youtube Videos topic.
Lake Turkana, located in northern Kenya, is the worlds largest permanent desert lake. It also has an active volcanic island within its shores. The lake is home to 11 endemic fish species including Haplochromis macconneli, H. rudolfianus and H. turkanae. Your won’t find these fish on any price lists. You’d be hard-pressed to even find a picture. So when Ethiopia decided to dam the Omo River, chances of seeing these fish just got even harder. The Omo River feeds into Lake Turkana and the dam is expected to have a devastating impact on the lake’s ecology. There are plans to release water from the dam periodically to imitate natural flood cycles, but an independent commission wasn’t convinced that it would be enough to save the lake. For more on this story, visit indepthAfrica.com.
After months of bitter arguing, walking away from talks and accusations, Malawi and Tanzania have agreed to seek mediation over their border dispute. The disagreement is which country owns Lake Malawi. Malawi claims the entire lake while Tanzania wants half. At stake are the rich oil and gas reserves recently found in the lake. An African Forum of Former Presidents will be doing the mediating. For more information on the issue, visit NBCNews.com.
It seems that Lake Victoria isn’t the only lake in Eastern Africa that is being infested by water hyacinth. Water hyacinth is the common name for plants of the genus Eichhornia. Like Lake Victoria, Lake Lana is being affected by this plant. Lake Tana is Ethiopia’s largest lake and a source of food, water and revenue for 3 million people. Water hyacinth is an invasive plant grows on the surface of the water, drastically affecting the river or lake’s ecosystem. Although there are no noteworthy cichlids, Lake Tana does has a very unique collection of native cyprinids. A concern is whether this is the beginning of a larger spread of water hyacinth in Africa, including the Rift Lakes. For more information on Lake Tana, visit Africa Science News.
Paratilapia polleni is one of the cichlid species from Madagascar. Like other cichlids, P. polleni will excavate a pit in order to spawn. Here is where P. polleni differentiates itself from other egg layers. Its eggs aren’t sticky so they wont adhere to a particular surface. Instead, the eggs have a long fibrous filament with attaches itself to other eggs resulting in a long strand. The female then fans the strand onto itself repeatedly creating a large mass of up to one thousand eggs. This mass can be moved by the female as long as it doesn’t get tangled in roots or other underwater obstacles.
Hailing from the Orinoco River Basin and the Upper Rio Negro, Pterophyllum altum is a beautiful fish that needs plenty of room in an aquarium as they can get quite large. P. altum isn’t as common in the hobby as P. scalare; arguably the most identifiable of all cichlids. P. altum can be difficult to breed in captivity and they are also sensitive to water conditions.
For those looking for an out of the ordinary vacation, this is your future destination. Spend a couple nights 40 feet under the ocean with a breathtaking view. The Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji will be something unique if it ever gets completed. Originally scheduled to open years ago, it is not yet completed. Prices are listed at $30,000 USD per couple for a one week stay. If you think that’s a little steep, keep in mind that it is all inclusive.