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A couple weeks ago I noticed that my normally blue P. coatza's were changing colors. The male more intense blue and the female a gray-brown. This particular tank has three of the fish...two females and one male...a "mix" of gender that I have had luck with to stimulate breeding.

Coincidentally I have the fish in two other tanks. Both with male and female. In one tank I have T. wesseli as well...and in the other I have juvenile A. hogaboomorum. This is the only tank where they are sole occupants...and the first to breed.

Here's the male slipping closely into the dominant breeding coloration.

I spoke with Juan Miguel from the CRC. He told me that in the wild, both fish will turn yellow. This certainly is the case for the female....maybe not exactly, and not necessarily all of the time.

Interesting to note that the male did not turn yellow. I have noticed that when younger fish breed one or both of the species can't seem to follow the playbook exactly. These are very small fish...babies having babies actually.

One interesting thing of note about the color changes. Chromatophores under the the skin are broken into subclasses of varying colors...yellow, red, white plus those that are reflective/irredescent. Melanosphores cover the black and brown. The animal (fish in this case) turn these cells on and off to change color...rapidly in some case.

The coatza male was the most impressive...going from a near blue to blue with light vertical bars... a lighter version with much more pronounced vertical bars.

The female stayed very close to coloration. Both fish would become more intense whenever I was able to lure them within...or the other female...close to the breeding area.

For the most part the male remained hidden on the other side of the tank. When he did near the breeding area the male and female worked in unison guarding and leaving the area. Here she is hot on his caudal tale getting back to the kids.

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