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New river dolphin species discovered

new river dolphin

Newly discovered Inia araguaiaensis. Photo by Nicole Dutra

It has been almost 100 years since a new river dolphin species has been discovered. Unfortunately, the news comes with a reminder of the problems facing the Amazon river basin. The new river dolphin species has been named Inia araguaiaensis, and as few as 600 individuals live in the Araguaia River. It is believed that the formation of rapids along the Araguaia River separated a group of river dolphins over 2 million years ago. In that time, the isolated dolphins evolved into a distinct new species. Their habitat is threatened by dam construction and I. araguaiaensis, like all other river dolphins, is already endangered.

new river dolphin

Inia araguaiaensis habitat in blue

For more information on Inia araguaiaensis, visit the National Geographic Daily News page.

Bioluminescent phytoplankton appears again

Bioluminescent Phytoplankton

Bioluminescent phytoplankton in Maldives beach. Photo by Will Ho.

We reported on bioluminescent phytoplankton that appeared in Australia a year ago and now it’s back. This time the phytoplankton bloomed on the beaches of the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean. Photographer Will Ho captured the event. The glowing effect comes from an algae bloom of Lingulodinium polyedrum. Stress causes the L. polyedrum to emit the blue glow. As seen in the picture below, stepping on the algae triggers the bioluminescence.

bioluminescent phytoplankton

Photo by Will Ho.

More pictures by Will Ho can be found on the Colossal website or on his Flickr page.

Big Gripper bucket perfect for fishkeepers

big gripper

It isn’t often that I get excited about something as simple as a bucket, but I’ve got to say I was really impressed with this one. The Big Gripper is a newly designed bucket by Leaktite and it appears to be a Home Depot exclusive. However, I quick search online and found it available at a couple other places. For those of us that have had to lift a bucket up to a tank and ended up with a mess, this bucket seams like the perfect alternative to the regular orange buckets. The Big Gripper holds 3.5 gallons vs the 5 gallons of orange buckets, but the ease of use might make up for capacity version. It has a thicker handle to spare your fingers and convenient hand-holds on the top and bottom to make pouring much easier. Take a look at the Big Gripper video below and decide for yourself.

Pseudotropheus saulosi release video

Video showing the release of the first 32 captive raised Pseudotropheus saulosi into the waters around Taiwan Reef, Lake Malawi.

Back in September 2013, Ad Konings released 32 captive raised Pseudotropheus saulosi. At one time the waters around Taiwan Reef reef were full of this species, but in the last few years the population has decreased to the point that it is difficult to find them. Hopefully this will help reestablish the Ps. saulosi population in their native home.

Pseudotropheus saulosi is a favorite mbuna with many hobbyists. Females and juveniles are bright yellow while the dominant male is blue and black. Their temperament, which is less aggressive than other mbuna, also make them a great fish for beginners. For more information on this species, make sure to read the Species Article by Paul Barber.

pseudotropheus saulosi

Male and female Ps. saulosi. Photo by Gerard Delany

Alkaline tilapias of Lake Natron

alkaline tilapias

Alcolapia alcalica by Michael K. Oliver, Ph.D

Lake Natron is located in northern Tanzania. What sets Lake Natron apart from other rift lakes is an unusual combination of factors which make it an incredibly inhospitable lake. High temperatures, shallow waters and mineral-rich hot springs combine to raise the pH of the lake as high as 10.5. Despite all these factors, 3 species of alkaline tilapias make their home in these waters; Alcolapia latilabris, A. ndalalani and A. alcalica.

What is also amazing about these alkaline tilapias is not only can they thrive in alkaline waters that would kill most other cichlids, but they can also live in more neutral pH waters. To understand just how hostile the waters of Lake Natron are, take a look at the Lake That Turns Animals to Stone? Not Quite article on LifeScience.com.

alkaline tilapias

Photo by Nick Brandt

Radio Show: Let’s Talk About Cichlids

radio show

A monthly radio show, Let’s Talk About Cichlids, hosted by Greg Steeves and Ken McKeighen will make its debut next week on BlogTalk Radio. Greg is best known for his work with Victorian cichlids. You can find many of his species articles in the Lake Victoria Basin Cichlid Profiles section. Ken is a Paleontologist, artist, and accomplished killifish keeper. Together they will discuss cichlid fish, cichlid people, cichlid events and anything else that happens to pop up in a relaxed and humorous atmosphere.

Their first guest will be none other than Pam Chin. Pam writes for the Buntbarsche Bulletin (Ask Pam column), Cichlid News Magazine and various aquarium societies. She is also a founding member of “Babes In The Cichlid Hobby”. Make sure to visit the Let’s Talk About Cichlids radio show page for more information.

The first show will be on January 18th at 7:00 pm CST. Future shows will be on the third Saturday of each month at 7:00 pm CST.

Cyphotilapia gibberosa spawn video

A Cyphotilapia gibberosa Samazi blue spawn by PISCES Farm.

Another terrific video from the folks at PISCES Farm. This time they’ve captured a pair of Cyphotilapia gibberosa in the act. I’ve seen many cichlid videos, but I’ve never seen a Cyphotilapia spawning video capture so much detail. I’m also not too familiar with their spawning process, but I did notice that the female picks up the eggs before the male has had a chance to fertilize them. Normally substrate spawners will do their dance, spinning around in circles. The female drops an egg, the male comes along to fertilize it and then the females circles back around to pick it up. I don’t know if it’s just inexperience on the part of the female or if it’s normal, and the male will fertilize the eggs in her mouth at a later time.

Anyway, if you’d like to read more about Cyphotilapia gibberosa and their reproductive process, make sure to take a look at Razzo’s C. gibberosa Mikula forum topic, Tau’s first spawns. In his topic you’ll find many great photos (like the one pictured below) and even a video documenting fry development.

cyphotilapia gibberosa

Day 13. Photo by Razzo (Russ F.)

River monster guessing game

river monster

Test your River Monster identification skills with Animal Planet’s Name that River Monster quiz. A couple weeks ago we blogged about the marathon of shows that were going to be running. If you had the opportunity to watch the shows or you’ve always been a big fan of Jeremy Wade and his monster adventures, then you should have no problem identifying the fish on this quiz. If you’ve never heard about the River Monsters show, then here is a great opportunity to see some of the fish that inhabit the same waters as many of the cichlids we keep in our tanks.

Test your fish identification skills today.

Angelina Jolie Project – A study of cichlid lips

angelina jolie

An interesting article with an equally interesting title. The Angelina Jolie Project touches on two evolutionary topics; evolutionary change and parallel evolution. Axel Meyer, professor at the University of Konstanz, has spent a good part of his career studying fish evolution and sequencing DNA in the many lakes of Nicaragua. Affectionally called the Angelina Jolie Project, Meyer and his colleagues have studied how quickly evolutionary change can take place among cichlids. The study also looks into similar characteristics of cichlids thousands of miles away by the process of parallel (convergent) evolution. The unusual project name has to do with the focus on the evolution of thick lips in fish. To read the entire article and find many interesting reference links, visit The Loom on the National Geographic website.

Thick lips are not only found in the Midas cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellum) of Nicaragua, but also in African cichlids including Protomelas sp. “Mbenji Thick Lip”, Placidochromis milomo, and Paralabidochromis chilotes to name a few.

Unique artist paints cichlids

unique

The other day I stumbled on some unique cichlid art and thought I would share it with other cichlid fans. A South African artist by the name of Lucas Grant paints cichlids and other creatures on old dictionary pages creating these out of the ordinary works. Lucas not only does paintings, but is also an excellent wildlife photographer. If you are someone that appreciates art and want to have some unique pieces that also incorporate your hobby, take a look at Lucas Grant’s website. If you are looking for more than just cichlid paintings, make sure to check out his photography and some of his other African wildlife paintings.

unique


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