• Hello guest! Are you an Apistogramma enthusiast? If so we invite you to join our community and see what it has to offer. Our site is specifically designed for you and it's a great place for Apisto enthusiasts to meet online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your fish and tanks and have a great time with other Apisto enthusiasts. Sign up today!

A new Apisto species: Apistogramma barlowi

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
... I am really surprised that a non peer-reviewed publication can be treated as an outlet for defining a species "scientifically"
The Code has very few rules on publication. It requires that the paper be in a certain languages and that it be published as hard copies in sufficient numbers to be readily found with a reasonable literature search. Nowhere is it required that a scientific paper be published in a scientific journal, never mind that it be reviewed by a jury of experts.

... you know, one may easily start a journal somewhere and publish tens of articles and then describe tens of species?!...
That is correct. I occurs right now!
 

Rolo

Active Member
5 Year Member
Hi,

but it's not that easy to postulate better reviews by experts. It wouldn't change anything.
Do you know the sentence "if two experts have the same opinion, one of them is no real expert!"?
In biology there often is no "right" or "wrong". That means, even if a description have to be reviewed before publishing in a scientific paper, this wouldn't solve the problem. You'll ever find an "expert" who gives his OK for an article in his review and after publishing you'll surely find another expert, who say, it's all bollocks.

@Heiko: (welcome from me, too. Nice to meet you here.)

I understand, that you are angry about the fact, that Uwe didn't mentioned, that it supposed to be your discovery. But is it important for a scientific (!) paper to mention, who made a discovery or is it just important to know the facts? Well, of course, it's a wrong information then, that Uwe wrote, the A. barlowi was first developed in 1999, if you found them in 1997.
But did you publish this anywhere? The first articles about the Breast-band/Mouthbrooder, I mention, are by Uwe Römer (Aquarium heute) and I. Koslowski (Datz) both from 2000 after this species was imported by Glaser in 2000.
I really don't understand this. If you made such an exceptionally discovery of a mouthbrooding apistogramma three years (!) earlier, why the hell have obviously nobody noticed that?

And it's the same with D. gladicauda. You say, it's a joke and you found specimen with a single upper or lower filament. Did I understand it right, that you found them together with "normal" D. filamentosus in one population? Well, I first mentioned and saw the "new" Dicrossus with upper filaments in the year 2000 and they caused a stir. But I NEVER read anywhere something, that the occurence of single filaments is quite normal in populations of Dicrossus filamentosus. So, have you published this anywhere? Staeck catched the specimen from the description himself and I assume that he would have noticed, if they had been just a few in between lots of normal D. filamentosus. In this case I agree that it's really inappropriate to describe a new species.

So, the other possibility - as I understood it - is, that there are separated populations, where all specimen have single filaments. Then you can call it either a local form or a species to separate them from "normal" D. filamentosus. ...but you can't call it a "joke".
It's quite normal, that some experts call a different but similar fish an other species, while other experts just call them a local form/population. Splitter- Lumper principle. ...but it's just a different name for the same thing: to keep these different fishes separate. It doesn't matter if you call it D. sp. "Obenschwert" or D. cf. filamentosus "Obenschwert" or D. gladicauda. In my opinion, the term "species" is not defined exactly enough, to call it a "joke".

best regards,
Rolo
 

blueblue

Active Member
5 Year Member
Hi Rolo, I see your points. Hmm, actually, in the academic circle, we always reply on a rigorous peer-review process. One important aspect is that we could supplement the shortcomings of the paper. You know, nobody is perfect and each paper is just written by just a few individuals (no matter how experienced and knowledgeable they are) who might have easily overlooked some important points. As a result, the reviewers could provide critiques and suggestions for revisions. This process can help the authors to improve the quality of their paper. By the way, each claim made in a scientific peer-reviewed journal must be well-supported by facts/literature. An empty claim simply does not work.

To Heiko: If you find the errors out from Uwe's works and you have strong evidence to support you, I do strongly encourage you write an article and send it to the editor. Of course, if there is no real evidence, then your claims are invalid...






Hi,

but it's not that easy to postulate better reviews by experts. It wouldn't change anything.
Do you know the sentence "if two experts have the same opinion, one of them is no real expert!"?
In biology there often is no "right" or "wrong". That means, even if a description have to be reviewed before publishing in a scientific paper, this wouldn't solve the problem. You'll ever find an "expert" who gives his OK for an article in his review and after publishing you'll surely find another expert, who say, it's all bollocks.
 

chris1932

Forum Donor
Staff member
5 Year Member
Heiko

Thank you for finding "mouthbrooders" they, are one of my prized Apistogramma. I have been able to watch spawns of two generations of fish and it never fails to amaze me.
 

skh

New Member
5 Year Member
Hi blublue, Hi List,

One important aspect is that we could supplement the shortcomings of the paper. You know, nobody is perfect and each paper is just written by just a few individuals (no matter how experienced and knowledgeable they are) who might have easily overlooked some important points. As a result, the reviewers could provide critiques and suggestions for revisions. This process can help the authors to improve the quality of their paper. By the way, each claim made in a scientific peer-reviewed journal must be well-supported by facts/literature.
A very interesting discussion: I agree with your opinion and want to add some thoughts. You must consider that there is no huge scientific community working in Apistogramma (or dwarf cichlid) systematics - the field is simply too small and there is no broad scientific interest. And there is a point that makes judgement harder for the non-expert: Like in other taxonomic fields different researchers use different methods and have different opinions about doing taxonomic work.

The peer review process should definitely not question the opinion of the researcher that sent in the manuscript but should check, whether the work has been done "lege artis" and whether all the "rules" have been obeyed and of course if all the scientific literature (that is not DATZ, AT, THF or Aquarium Heute!) have been read and have been taken into consideration.
I personally would find it extremely difficult to judge a work in a fair way if I was working on the same subject (and had different opinions) or if "my" view of taxonomy was offended. The same for the authors - they should not take good advices as personal attack.

Luckily, I am not scientifically working in the field of fish taxonomy (due to a good advice from Ingo Koslowski when I was a student) and now I am more and more considering parts of the fish taxonomy field as sort of a "kind of weak science" that relies more on personal hypotheses (that often slowly turn into theories and then into facts). But even as an non-specialist I can sometimes find flaws in formal logic and methods.

I do still hope that in the future scientific descriptions of new species will be published in "scientific journals" with a peer review system and I also hope that the reviewers will act fair - even if they do not have the same opinion as the authors.

And the current situation? So - currently there are only a hand full of scientists working in Apistogramma taxonomy: Kullander (taxonomy), Romer (biogeography, if I am right), Staeck (biologist), Schindler (self educated person - I know him personally). Do you think that this is a good stock for potential reviewers? And they are humans - they may react like humans!

A funny - and hard to translate - statement in Germany about the question "What is a species?": "A species is what the specialist thinks is a species!" And the specialist is a person, whom the non-expert considers as a specialist.

And Heiko - sorry, but as long as there is no written (and published) report, the observation simply does not exist. I am also always smiling about these famous german "Welterstnachzuchten" (a typical german compound word). There are plenty of "heikoi", "bleheri" species - you should smile about the Maulbrüter issue it and not complain.

just my few cents ;-)

Stefan
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I co-authored a juried scientific paper (Journal of Paleontology), so I have some experience with how juries operate. The peers are not necessarily "experts" in the field of the paper, but they are experienced writers of scientific papers. It is not the job of the jury to pass judgement on the validity of the paper, but as Stepan says to make certain that the paper follows proper scientific proceedures and research. Determining the validity of a paper occurs after the paper is published and read by knowledgable, interested scientists in the field. Then debates can occur between the author(s) and others who question the findings.

As for experts, my major professor (preeminant in Devonian brachiopods) told me never to claim to be an expert. Someone will sometime come along who is more knowledgable. As for being a specialist. I agree with Robert Heinlein - specialization is for insects.
 

Apistomaster

Member
5 Year Member
Quoting Mike Wise,
"As for experts, my major professor (preeminant in Devonian brachiopods) told me never to claim to be an expert. Someone will sometime come along who is more knowledgable. As for being a specialist. I agree with Robert Heinlein - specialization is for insects."

Mike,
Your statement made my day.
 

susanmaree

New Member
5 Year Member
quality scientific literature

Hi

I will keep this short as it is off topic - I am posting here as the people involved in this discussion should be able to answer my question :)

I am a scientist, working in health, and am used to accessing peer reviewed scientific literature using various international databases, eg PubMed, The Cochrane Library etc (I have taught evidence based practice skills to doctors among other things). So, where DO I find good quality scientific literature on fish, plants and aquarium keeping in general. I am not a 'newbie' I have been keeping fish for over 40 years with a couple of breaks due to work/life pressures - I did start very young:) and I subscribe to TFH magazine as a) it is interesting and b) the science is not too poor - unlike every other popular press magazine I have tried and abandoned in dismay at the levels of ignorance of basic biological and scientific principles.

any suggestions will be very greatfully received

Susan
 

Marc

New Member
5 Year Member
Hi Susan,

first: In my humble opinion, you need zotero (www.zotero.org) ;-).

It is not as easy to write down a complete lists of (good) sources. There are Blackwell Synergies, Springer, Mapress (Zootaxa), Copeia and many more. May be it is a good idea first to get an overview. According to this, i would suggest to start at Erwin Schramls page http://www.worldfish.de/. Try the links "scientific news", "Publications" and "Links". The Petfrd.com Ichthyology Journal Club (http://www.petfrd.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=75) seems to be a valuable source to fullfill your needs.
Hope that helps.

Kind Regards
Marc
 

Apistomaster

Member
5 Year Member
Dear Heiko,
I think I am safe in saying we are friends who respect one another and as a friend, I think you can find some consolation in that this little mouth brooding Apistogramma species didn't end up being another "axelrodi".
 

viejo

Member
5 Year Member
Dear Heiko,
I think I am safe in saying we are friends who respect one another and as a friend, I think you can find some consolation in that this little mouth brooding Apistogramma species didn't end up being another "axelrodi".

I think that I can only assume that Heiko concurs with this whole-heartedly, as do I :wink: .....
 

Heiko Bleher

New Member
5 Year Member
Hi, all of you,

This is Heiko and I hope you all are up for a long one...

I read this thread after my comments and must make a few more and also say some things which might have been mis understood:

1. Mark Wise (I really appreciate that you are one of the few guys using your own name...): I am with you in regards to the fact of Uwe's divisions. And also of the fact that most of recent apisto & dwarf cichlid (and other) species descriptions have been published in non-juried publications. Romer's species descriptions were in aqua (March 1994: A. mendezi and September 1998: A. arua) and since only in non-juried publications. But I guess you forgot to mention why: I believe only because the latter pay him (and other such mentioned authors) money, and specially Hans Baensch – which science does not. There are new meeting and enough aims (specially Sven is after it and i support it in full) to change the Code. A meeting in Paris is up. Lets see what comes out.
2. blueblue (is the name from water?): I do not know who were the D. gladicauda reviewers, but when I read this paper I would say no one (except for the managing editor, he must have read it), as there is to much controversy. And specially the few specimens. If I have 20 (what should be) of all the same, that it would sound more reliable, but 4? And everywhere I found Dicrossus - throughout Amazonia - they were in numbers. To me they (he) did not find more with such a tail. And I agree totally with you to compare it i.e. with A. elisabethae, just because you mention this one: I collected populations in the Rio Negro system below São Gavbriel da Cachoeira and above; in affluents of the Rio Uaupés; in the Tiquié, in affluents of the Içana; the Rio Xié and elsewhere – but all to me are populations and not different species.
And blueblue, yes I should write more (only doing an average of 50 popular articles per year; check hundreds of scientific papers, give 40-50 lectures; make at least 10 expeditions, last year, and this year more; decorate biotope aquariums, answer a few thousand e-mails, and participate at 5-10 international exhibitions and judge at 5-10 championships... to mention a few of the things I do). But read what I mention below under Rolo.
3. Zmirek: I didi hold lectures on many natural biotopes of Apistogrammas around the world and from many parts of South America, the last one in Romania and in Poland in June. Why did you not come to Krakow? I guess you live near. I was there from 6-9th of June.
4. Apistomaster: the "axelrodi" was a good one. I (almost) forgot...
5. Stefan: I did not "complain", I usually never do, maybe it was misunderstood, I just wanted to mention it. (But also see below.) With regards to peer review I cannot totally agree with you: a reviewer can and should question a MS if i.e. the species is in question (and we had it on several occasions and rejected it).
6. Rolo: Thank you for the nice comments.
First of all I wanted to tell you that i do not agree with your comment on "You'll ever find an 'expert' who gives his OK". I do not think it (he or she) will be found at a serious scientific publication. Naturally I cannot judge for all, but some I know very well and I dio one now for almost 15 years and we have had several experts which did not agree and the MS was rejected. (If than one or the other was published in a popular journal, as I have seen it happen, that is another story.)
With regards to Uwe, he knew precisely about the mouth-brooder. Mikschovsky called and had invited him (they do not live far aways), and if I recall correctly, gave him specimen(s). As mentioned, Uwe for the first time ever, published in aqua, and we gave him an entire issue with all photos free of charges (as other scientific publications charge - at least most of them). I gave him before and after many specimens of Apistogramma and never heard about it. (Delivering him at midnight once many fishes, I remember very well.) After 1998 he never mentioned me again in all is (popular) writings. But you know, I live in Italy now, and I can see much better than ever before what happens in Germany. And you are also German. You should know the intrigues, the jealous Germans (more than any other of 160plus populations i learned from), der Neid, etc. It is (very) common practice that you are overlooked and/or not mentioned. I do not know this from anywhere else. These maybe hard words, but this is the truth, I could list hundreds of German publications (scientific and naturally much more popular) which I, or my contribution was NEVER mentioned. Undank ist des Menschen Lohn I know only in German. The mouth-brooder was only one he knew very well about it... But you know, I do not care.
With regards to the Dicrossus and my "joke" (maybe not the correct word), let me say this: There were Taphorn and all the Venezuela ichthyologists, also myself, who have collected the area extensively during decades (Steak & CO. one single time) and declared all those there as D. filamentosus. (You can see the checklist of the Fishes of the Venezuelan Amazonia elsewhere). I have never seen a large population (as I think you want to call those 4 specimens) with such a wrong (crippled) tail. Just alway in many parts of the Rio Negro system, one here and there with such a feature. I even had fishes with a single sword in the middle and some with 3 swords, but never thought of making of such a few exceptional specimens new species out of it. Than we should have at least 10 (as with A. elisabethae mentioned above). And 4 specimens is definitely NOT enough in any case. That is why I said a joke. But maybe you can suggest another English word.

Anyhow, thank you all for your attention, and time, and all the very best,

always

Heiko Bleher
www.aqua-aquapress.com
www.aquapress-bleher.com
 

Peter Lovett1

New Member
5 Year Member
Hi Everyone,

Just thought I would put my comments in.

At about the same time as D. gladicauda I received a box D. filamentosus. When the first male started to develop and did not grow bottom swords.I put 2 and 2 together I thought that the fish I have may have been D. spâ€top swordâ€. However as time went on and more males developed most a lyre tail. Out of about 25 males only 3 have not grown a bottom sword or about 12% of the population. Though this may sound like only a very small percentage If the gene is recessive it gives a gene frequency 34.6% with 54.7% of the population carrying at least one gene.

It is possible for a non detrimental recessive gene to survive in a large population of fish almost forever. Witch may be what Heiko is seeing though out the distribution range of D. filamentosus. There is also the possibility that some of the fish he has seen are damaged and not mutated.

If in the wild there is a population of D. filamentosus that shows the similar gene frequency for only having a bottom sword it point to having a bottom sword as being of some advantage. It is almost impossible for a gene to change its frequency in a stable population unless that gene has some advantage.

So if D. gladicauda is not a species it may well be in the future.

Heiko

From what I can remember when I spoke to you about Maulbruter and please corrected if I am wrong. That when we spoke and you showed me a picture of them on your poster and I said they look different from the fish I had from Peru you told me that you collected your fish on the brazilian side of the border can you remember where.
 

Microman

Member
5 Year Member
Looking at the distribution of A barlowi in the Rio Ampiyacu/Yaguasyacu drainage near to Pebas, Peru i personally find it difficult to believe that A barlowi has been collected on the Brazilian side of the border.
Nothing fails to amaze with Apistogramma though.....
Mark...
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Looking at the distribution of A barlowi in the Rio Ampiyacu/Yaguasyacu drainage near to Pebas, Peru i personally find it difficult to believe that A barlowi has been collected on the Brazilian side of the border.
Nothing fails to amaze with Apistogramma though.....
Mark...
When I read this, my first thought was A. sp. Kelleri.
 

Heiko Bleher

New Member
5 Year Member
Hi guys,

I am very sorry that I come back so late, but this year was the most hectic one probably ever (and most unusual one...). I had more expeditions, more lectures & seminars, judging discus and international fairs & exhibitions and Universities I was invited to than ever before and had a experience I also never experianced before...
And 2009 looks as there is even more...

Anyhow, I am not complaining, just mentioning why I do not come back to this great forum more frequently and/or earlier.

I like very much what Peter wrote in regards to D. filamentosus (sorry: D. gladicauda...) and that is probably also why I find them in nature once in a while with only the top sword (or a bottom sword), as also the people from Venezuela did:
http://www.pecesdevenezuela.com/Dicrossus_filamentosus.html
and they, as the very well known scientists in that country, consider this to be D. filamentosa and nothing else because of some specimens have a single sword...

And there is another thing many probably don't know from nature: fishes throughout the tropics specially, I find always – in the dry season mainly – without the lower tail portion. It is eaten by another fish in at least 6 to 8 out of 10 specimens I collect. And almost all the time the lower tail portion and not always grows back as it was...(I have thousands of photos of it.)

Anyhow, may it be as it be, but I can only repeat what I told Steack at the 7th international Discus Championships last October in Duisburg, Germany: " If we go on describing new species just because there are some specimens with a single instead of a double sword and all other characters are the very same, than we will have probably 100,000 fish species soon and no one is able to distinguish them any more..." Is that what we want? I dought it.
B.t.w. if anyone wants to see something about that event, here:
http://www.aquapress-bleher.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=231&Itemid=1
http://www.aquapress-bleher.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=293&Itemid=1

And Peter, with regards to the mouthbrooding Apistogramma barlowi, you quoted me correctly. Yes I had the species already on my Apistogramma poster published in 1998, and you had asked me. It looks a little different from the described one from the Peruvian side, but still it connects during floods to the the Javari Valley (both locations). Besides we are talking about an area where also A. agassizii has an immense distribution pattern and a (small) different color pattern almost everywhere. (But I am sure there are not 1000 different A. agassizii there...unless one wants to make it...).

But also peter thank you very much for your comment, very interesting. And pelase all the best to you also,

always

Heiko Bleher
www.aquapress-bleher.com
www.aqua-aquapress.com

PS: And Mark forgot aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology (see website above)
 
Top