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RE: Lampeyes

Bill Vannerson wrote:

> Brian, you wrote a short while ago that the water in the typical
> Notho habitat was very cloudy.  So much so that any preditor from
> above would not likely see the fish in the water.  Is the habitat
> for Lampeyes similar?  Or is their water clearer?

It can be highly variable but, on average, the water in East African lampeye
habitats is much clearer than in the average Notho habitat. We have
collected lampeyes in water ranging from very turbid (as in most Notho
habitats) to so clear that one could see the bottom of the stream at depths
of 5-6 feet. My feeling is that lampeyes prefer clearer water but during the
rainy season in East Africa most of the streams and the swamps fed by them
will, inevitably, be turbid to some extent, so the fish don't always have
much of a choice.

We quite frequently find lampeyes in Notho localities, in the same turbid
water, and I suspect most of them have washed into, or migrated into, the
Notho habitat during the height of the rainy season and subsequently become
trapped there.

For a good example of a lampeye habitat with crystal clear water have a look
at the lower photo on page 21 of Finn Larsen's article about our 1998 trip
to Tanzania, in the latest issue of JAKA. This was our Aplocheilichthys
kongoranensis "Jaribu TAN 98-10" locality (which is equivalent to Jaribu TAN
97-8). The log that you see in the foreground of that photo is mostly
submerged and yet it is perfectly visible and well defined. Similarly,
lampeye localities that we found in northern Zambia in 1997 were also
incredibly clear.

Hypsopanchax modestus typically inhabits streams that are absolutely crystal
clear. The streams in which one finds this species in western Uganda flow
directly from the Ruwenzori Mountains and, where the modestus occur, are
very fast flowing, relatively cool and incredibly clear.

Mach Fukada wrote:

> I found the discussion on loss of color very interesting.  I suspect that
> carotenoid pigments from food (micro algae via zooplankton) is probablly
> the cause.  I suspect that from location to location there are varying
> amounts of these microalgae.

I agree that it must be related to what the fish eat and the variation in
food from one locality to another.

> Was the pigmentation of the lampeyes
> sexually dimorphic?  I will suspect that the yellows and reds were
> prevalant in both males and females.

No, my recollection is that the females had colorless fins, but that is the
case for all populations of Aply. bukobanus.

>  I would love to try and see if this
> is correct.  Can anyone send me some of the lampeyes in question ;-).

I no longer maintain this particular population (TAN 95-5) but we will be
passing by the locality again in June. It will be interesting to see if a)
the lampeye is still there, and b) if it has the same coloration as in 1993.
There was also a very interesting Notho at the same locality (in pools
formed by the overflow of the stream into the immediately adjacent grassy
area) and I definitely want to re-collect that if I can.

> .......   All of the old timers here are saying that you can't beat
> pond raised fish for color.  All suggests that something maybe missing in
> the diets of the fish we raise indoors.

I agree.
Brian R. Watters
University of Regina
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 0A2, Canada
Ph: (306) 584-9161 (home); (306) 585-4663 (work)
Fax: (306) 585-5433
E-mail: bwatters at sk_sympatico.ca

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