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Re: Choc and Gold Australe only one species
From: <RuevenM at aol_com>
> Meinken did the entry on the gold australe and he does say that Hjerresen
> from Germany, Flensburg to be exact.
Thank you Robert for the country ID! Scheel, in ROTOW, mentions the city,
but for those of us unfamiliar with central European geography that wasn't
quite enough. What Hjerresen did is what was really significant.
In the ROTOW section "HJE: Aphyosemion australe hjerreseni Meinken 1953
Scheel summarizes Hjerrsen's 1954 article in Dansk Akvarieblad. Evidentially
"said that he discovered an individual with a 'white head' in a brood of
AUS. He considered the individual to be diseased, but found that it was in
reality very sound and the strongest of the brood. This ugly individual was
a female. He spawned this female to one of its brothers and raised a hundred
of their offspring. Among these there were seven which were white all over,
but two of these were not able to swim and one more did not swim very well.
In the male the black pigment was much reduced; in the female there was a
more yellowish color than in the head of the mother. Hjerresen also said
that in the first generations of the new (golden) strain he had 7-10% of the
individuals of the new phenotype, whereas from the fourth generation on the
new strain was breeding true. Hjerresen sent live individuals to Meinken who
based the HJE name on this material."
It puzzles me, why Meinken, a respected aquarist (and scientist?) would
describe the sport as a subspecies. He certainly communicated with
Hjerresen. Maybe Hjerresen didn't give him all of the details until the 1954
Scheel, not surprisingly, argued that the strain represented no population
in nature and deserved no zoological name. He seemed to admire what
Hjerresen had done and suggested instead honoring him by calling the fish
Lyretail". It is easy to see how that could devolve to golden lyretail.
The name of that publication may be why some of us non-German speakers would
conclude that Hjerresen was Danish. Scheel, a Dane, comfortable with the
languages and familiar with local killie scene, would know better, maybe
assuming his readers did too.
It is fascinating story though of how a sharp eyed breeder would spot an
"individualist," how he pondered the reasons for keeping the fish and how he
had to work and cull pretty carefully to establish the strain.
On the dating side, if Hjerresen raised the odd-ball female, her young and
at least four generations of the fish before the strain was fixed and then
sent representative killies to Meinken in 1953, it is conceivable that the
first fish was hatched a couple of years before, maybe even in the late 40s.
(How's that for really inconsequential trivia?)
The important thing is that he fixed and left us a beautiful strain of
killie. In a world of killie enthusiasts not usually keen on sports, it has
All the best!
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