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Thorichthys species ID

263 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  rafini
Good day all!

Purchased these as "ellioti cichlid".
My experience and instincts tell me thorichthys aureum.

Just looking for confirmation.
Apologies for the bad cellphone pictures.

Plant Terrestrial plant Wood Aquatic plant Pet supply

Plant Leaf Botany Wood Organism

Plant Wood Organism Terrestrial plant Iguania

Plant Water Organism Terrestrial plant Fish supply

The same store has sold aureum before for about 30 bucks each and I got all 6 for 50 bucks.

As you can see they're just with tetras, some plates and 1 or 2 Javanese rice fish.


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The term "ellioti" (even though some LFSs and die hards still mistakenly use the term) it is not considered valid.
In 1907 some were confused with aureus, maybe due to location variant and slight color differences, and the name has stuck around...... but
Modern DNA sequencing has determined ellioti is really the same as aureus, first described in 1862, so that name stands as legitimate, being older, aureus remains valid.
While I agree your's is probably maculipinnis
It's not quite as simple as that.
Over the years, 3 species in the genus Thorichthys have been described as ellioti.
In 1905 T aureum, was described by Regan as ellioti, and again in 1907 misidentified as ellioti.
In 1996 Azas described maculipinnis as ellioti.
And in 2005 Miller described T panchoillai as ellioti.
My point, is that the name ellioti is not legit, but all 3 have been misidentified using a non-valid name, and all look very much alike, so misidentification is understandable, as even the above experts have done.
Slight coloration differences (lighter/darker, speckled or not) or even slightly difference in overall shape of certain individuals from different locations does not mean they are different species.
The topography of one river, compared to the next, can influence which colors or shapes are more survivable in one vs. the other, only a mile or two down the road.

If the substrate is dark and stoney in a certain river, the majority of a spawn that is less easily predated upon might be darker, more mottled, and pass on the genes to favor those dark individuals.
Water Plant Body of water Bedrock Watercourse

Same thing might occur if the substrate is sandy, and favor those of a spawn with lighter less mottled coloration, to survive by having a lighter overall background.
Water Plant community Plant Green Natural landscape

Other factors such as overhanging terrestrial vegetation, and how much shade is created, or whether flow makes the surface of the water sparkle, may also influence what individuals are able to pass on genes.
Water Vertebrate Organism Underwater Tints and shades

One of the favorite examples of a species I kept, is Chuco intermedia.
I kept variants from different two separate rivers, each river had different topography, and the variation within the species was striking.
Underwater Fin Fish Marine biology Aquarium
Underwater Fin Fish Marine biology Reef

Although both are the same species, color, and even spotting patterns are obviously quite different.

Of course one of the most obvious examples of this, is Vieja melanurum, and synspillus, where for years they were thought to be different species by experts, because of their striking color differences, but.....
we now know, thru DNA sequencing, they are simply color variants of the same species, V. melanurus, each adapted to different habitat topography.
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