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Re: gardneri gold & ROTOW
> In 1968 Scheel unleashed ROTOW onto an unsuspecting world where gardneri
> only known as gardneri.
If you were one of the few who had been picking up on his letters or were in
a killie group which was picking up his articles it may not have been
entirely a surprise. As a matter of fact, I would peruse copies of TFH and
the Aquarium Journal in the University library between study breaks (in my
case study breaks were breaks to study between roving the periodical
stacks). Still too leery of killies (scared off by some of that delicate
annual fish nonsense), even I was a little familiar with Scheel's work which
appeared along with Dr. Bob Goldstein's Killie Column (leading cheers for
the killie hobby and the AKA as well).
For years killie nuts hoped for a second edition of ROTOW. In a very real
sense Scheel had written it in 1987. However TFH was by then enamoured with
those big Atlases which looked great on the coffee table, but had more
pictures and less information per page than earlier fish books. And if one
was reading themselves to sleep with one of those monsters, they could get
knocked silly when they dozed off and the Atlas flopped over on them. (That
still happens to me.)
Note that TFH began listing the killie atlas in 1987 in their books in (or
soon to be in) print lists in the TFH magazine . However it wasn't released
until after Scheel's death in 1990. Axelrod, a number of years earlier (say
the late 60s or early 70s), had characterized ROTOW as the best species
group book published to date. However one wonders if his vision of what
edition 2 should look like and how Col. Scheel envisioned the book's layout
were not entirely the same. Guess who won?
> There were no Fundulopanchax or nigerianus to contend with...
But the hobby did have to deal with A. nigerianus a la Clausen. Also in the
50s they had A. calliurum (our yellow gardneri maybe from Akure) and A.
calliurum ahli (the blue gardneri Akure). Sometimes our orange walkeri and
even filimentosus was referred to as a gardneri too. Scheel cleared up
several of those confusions.
> Crossing experiments showed the fantastic colours possible
> through selective breeding of differing populations. Perhaps Scheel's
> failures were due to selecting incompatible populations.
Scheel found the Akure/Port Harcourt (really probably from the Plateau north
of the Benue) produced very feeble fry, if they survived at all, if eggs
were even produced.
He wasn't interested in creating new colour patterns, despite his wonderful
photos. He was interested in relationships. Crosses were a means of
suggesting how closely killies might be related. He strongly advised against
uncontrolled crossing and was "orthodox" about not distributing such fishes.
J.J. Scheel also studied chromosomes and noted that some gardneri had
different numbers of haploid chromosomes. (Akure and West Cameroonian Cross
River strains had 20, Owo had 18.) Yet Owo and the Cameroonian Eyomojok
He was reluctant to generalize about patterns among the gardneri (although
his counts anticipated the separation of the small
Roloffia-Scriptaphyosemion types from Aphyosemion). He mentioned that he was
distributing what would be described as nigerianum to killie nuts as early
as 1958 under the calliurum name. And probably no other single killie has
done as much to popularize the hobby and get newbies started. (Yep,
lyretails and blue gularis got the press, but the gardneri got results.)
> I personally found
> the Cross River populations more difficult & the lacustre extremely
> difficult but we now accept the lacustre to be more seasonal in their
> breeding pattern. Perhaps Scheel tried at the wrong time of the year.
> seem to recall seeing a detailed crossing diary.
Interesting. The last time I had lacustre (N&RS at the 85 convention) we
collected lots of eggs. I gave a number of batches away. They didn't hatch.
Only later did it occur to me to try the old trick of placing them on wet
peat. (DUH!) ...seasonal huh? We also guessed that maybe we were keeping
them too cool.
A decade before, George Maier, Bob Skirm, Jerry Blazjak, Marty Nechorcik and
Hank Clemente raised so many of them, they couldn't give them away. Maybe
one had to call them Lake Ejakham (sp.) instead. ;)
All the best!
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