Out of the Ordinary: Myaka myaka

Myaka myaka from Lake Barombi Mbo. Photo courtesy of Dave’s Rare Aquarium Fish

Myaka myaka is a rare fish endemic to Lake Barombi Mbo, the largest of the crater lakes of Cameroon. Lake Barombi Mbo, like other crater lakes in the area, was created in an extinct volcano. In 1986, nearby Lake Nyos experienced seismic activity releasing massive quantities of CO2 and led to the death of 1700 people, livestock and aquatic life. Although Lake Barombi Mbo hasn’t had a tragic event like Lake Nyos, CO2 gas is regularly released from below the lake. Despite the danger, several endemic species like Myaka myaka, Pungu maclareni and Sarotherodon caroli have flourished. More information on Myaka myaka and Lake Barombi Mbo can be found in the Insight on Barombi Mbo, Cameroon article.

Cichlid x-rays and more

Lamprologus congoensis. AMNH

For fans of West African cichlids, specifically from the Congo River, the American Museum of Natural History has a fantastic collection of images. Everything from Hemichromis, Lamprologus, Nanochromis, Steatocranus and more. Not just x-rays of the fish, but live specimen pictures too. This great resource is part of The Congo Project and can be found here.

Cichlasoma dimerus pair moving and protecting fry

Video showing a breeding pair of Cichlasoma dimerus taking care of their fry.

Presidential fish

Etheostoma obama. By Joseph R. Tomelleri

OK, so they didn’t get a cichlid names after them, but hey, getting anything named after you is a plus. Five new fish species have been described and named, all after former or current U.S leaders who have records of environmental leadership and commitment. All the fish are darters (Etheostoma) that are found throughout southeastern river drainages west of the Appalachians. For more information on the new species and who they are named after, visit the Scientific American blog.

Evolution in Action: Lower Congo River

Dr. Melanie Stiassny, Curator-in-Charge of the Department of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History, narrates some of the exploration of the Lower Congo River. The video features Museum scientists on a quest to understand why so many species have evolved in the Lower Congo River.

Did you know…

Jane Goodall

In 1960, Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall traveled to Tanzania to study the Kasakela chimpanzee community in Gombe Stream National Park. It is at this park, located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, that Goodall conducted her 45 year study to become the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. Goodall’s research at Gombe Stream National Park is best known to the scientific community for challenging the long-standing belief of the day that only humans could construct tools. She also observed that chimpanzees demonstrated human emotions and actions as well as forming lifelong family and social relationships. In 1977, Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute, an international wildlife and environment conservation organization. You can learn more about Jane Goodall here.

Lake Managua; from tragedy to slow recovery

Lake Managua by Ryan Ballantyne

Lake Managua is the second largest lake in Nicaragua. Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, sits on the lake’s southern shore. Many species of cichlids are native to Lake Managua’s waters. They include Amphilophus citrinellum (Midas Cichlid), Parachromis managuensis (Jaguar Cichlid) and Neetroplus nematopus. For most of the 20th century, raw sewage and industrial waste (including mercury) flowed from the capital into the lake making it one of the most polluted waters in world. Not only were the native species devastated, but food resources from the lake were considered to dangerous for human consumption. Over the last decade, a concerted effort from the government of Nicaragua to stop industrial pollution and tens of millions of dollars in foreign investment for a sewage treatment plant have started to make a difference. It is expected that it will take the lake at least 50 years to make a significant recovery.

Free admission to Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

Harbor Seals

As a special thanks on December 1st the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is offering free admission to all city residents. There will also be discounts on IMAX movies, food and gift shop items. This offer is available to all Norwalk residents and does require proof of residence. Special exhibits include: Festival of Lighthouses Display, Meerkats and Africa: From the Desert to the Sea. Part of the Africa exhibit will include cichlids from the various rift lakes with a special emphasis on habitat preservation and conservation. For more information visit the Maritime Aquarium website or download the Press Release in PDF format.

Mbuna fry: first 50 days

Interesting video showing the growth a several mbuna species over their first 50 days. They include Pseudotropheus demasoni, Pseudotropheus sp. “Acei” Ngara and a few Metriaclima sp. “Patricki” Jalo Reef. It is easy to forget just how much size they can put on in under 2 months. During that time, the P. demasoni kept up in size with the Acei considering their size differences when fully grown.

Lake Victoria cichlids can’t catch a break

Urban and industrial run-off. World Agroforestry Centre

After the introduction of the predatory Nile tilapia and Nile perch in the 1950′s, the native cichlid population of Lake Victoria dropped dramatically. According to Les Kauffman, a chief scientist at Boston University, it has been “the greatest vertebrate mass extinction in recorded history”. Adding to the cichlid’s woes; pollution and habitat destruction from the 30 million human inhabitants around the lake. Now that Nile tilapia and perch levels are dropping as a result of pollution and over/illegal fishing, efforts are underway to save this resource. Reducing lake pollution is always a good thing, unfortunately it will result in more predators. For more information on Lake Victoria check out Lake Victoria: a sick giant and AllAfrica.com’s pollution article.