Allotoca meeki

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Original Description: 

  ÁLVAREZ DEL VILLAR, J. (1959): Contribución al conocimiento del genero Neoophorus (Pisc., Goodeidae). Ciencia, Méx. 19 (1-3): pp 13 - 22

Etymology: 

  Álvarez del Villar named the species for Seth Eugene Meek for his important work to increase knowledge about Mexican fish.

Holotype: 

  There isn't mentioned a Collection-number in the description, maybe there is none. The Holotype is an adult female of 52.1mm SL, collected by A. Solórzano, 29.06.1957.

English Name: 
Zirahuén Allotoca
Mexican Name: 
Tiro de Zirahuén
Synonyms: 

Zoogoneticus diazi   Meek (partially), 1902

Neoophorus diazi   Hubbs & Turner (partially), 1939

Neoophorus diazi diazi   de Buen (partially), 1942

Neoophorus meeki   Álvarez del Villar, 1959

Karyotype: 

  The Karyotype describes the number and appearance of chromosomes during the phase of condensation, classified by the position of the centromere (Levan et al., 1964).

The following abbreviations are employed:

 

M = large metacentric chromsome (a result of Robertsonian fusion)

m = small metacentric chromsome (centromere at medium position)

sm = submetacentric chromsome (centromere at submedian position)

smst = submetacentric-subtelocentric chromosome (continous series)

st = subtelocentric chromosome (centromere at subterminal region)

stt = subtelocentric-acrocentric chromosome (continous series)

t = acrocentric chromosome (centromere at terminal region)

 

The Karyotype of Allotoca meeki, following Uyeno, Miller & Fitzsimons, 1983:

2n = 46    2M/ 6st/ 38t  

Size: 
The maximum known SL is 60mm (MIller et al, 2005).
Terra typica: 

  The Holotype comes from the Lago Zirahuén near Ajuno in Michoacán.

Status after IUCN: 

  not assessed

Status following other sources: 

  Endangered; Comment: Declining; very rare

Distribution and ESU's: 

  This species is restricted to the endorheic basin of the Lago de Zirahuén in Michoacán, including the Lago de Opopéo.

Habitat: 

  Concerning the type location: The Lago de Zirahuén is a small, but deep mountain lake with a sandy bottom that is partially covered with firm mud. The water is very clear. Probably this species lives within dense plant stands like Chara, Potamogeton, Ceratophyllum and green algae. The prefered depth is below 1m.

 

Lago de Opopeo ILago de Opopeo II

 

Lago de Opopeo IIILago de Opopeo IV

Colouration: 

  The colouration of this fish has been described by Álvarez del Villar in the following way: "This species shows a lot of little irregular and more or less chestnut-grayish-coloured spots, forming bars on the lower part of the sides and from the origin of the insertion of the dorsal fin posteriorly. In some individuals, it looks like these spots overlay the dark bars so they don't appear so dark anymore. A lot of specimens show a small but very dark spot (darker than the other spots) isolated on the posterior part of the caudal peduncle, immediately at the base of the caudal fin. Within the majority of individuals, the dorsal half of the body is normally less spotted and looks brighter than the sides. The venter is very clear, whitish or cream-coloured and doesn't present spots."

Biology: 

  Miller reported about juvenile fishes in February. Due to the fact, that this species is very rare in the wild as well as in captivity, there's not much knowledge available.

Diet: 

  The dentition of this species is identical to other Allotoca-species, which suggests, this species feeds from small water-invertebrates and insects from the surface. Maybe the nourishment includes small fish, too.

Remarks: 

  Some authors list this species (as well as Allotoca catarinae) in synonymy with Allotoca diazi, some others recognize it as distinct. However, Allotoca meeki is barely distinguishable from diazi and at least very close to it.  Following Álvarez del Villar, this species appears more slender than diazi with bigger eyes than other species of the genus Allotoca.

 

  This fish has been probably extirpated from Lago de Zirahuén as a result of predation from the introduced largemouth bass and appears to persist only in the small Laguna de Opopeo, a tributary to the lake, also populated with largemouth bass meanwhile. Therefore, and due to its very small presence in Hobbyist-tanks, Allotoca meeki has to be considered as one of the most endangered Goodeid species. At the moment, there are known only 3 captive populations.

Husbandry: 
  Looking on the biotopes of Allotoca meeki, they suggest the species may prefer a habitat with moderate to swift current, structured with gravel, rocks, roots, branches, fallen leaves and river bank vegetation. Fry is eaten in most of the cases, but it may depend on the quantity and quality of food and on the number of space to hide. When several different stages of juveniles occur, fry may be neglected, so it makes sense to add separate brought up fry to the group with a size of 1.5 or 2cm to provide these stages and get a flock breeding colony.

 

 The recommended tank size is at least 100 liters, bigger ones with a generous base and little height (25cm are enough) are better for sure. With rocks and vegetation in the corners and backsinde of the tank well structured tanks combined with some roots and/ or wood seem to do best with this species. The current should be moderate or swift. 

 

 In the wild, the species seem to feed from small or middle - sized invertebrates like bloodworms or insect larvae, so feeding with similar food, Daphnia, Mysis and other food from animalistic sources will be best for this predatory fish.   

 

 Concerning water quality, this species is in need of greater water changes (60 - 80% every week) like most of the Goodeids, especially river and spring inhabiting species, so an automatic water changing system can be helpful. Otherwise, in combination with constant temperatures higher than 24°C, fish may get sick, lose resistance against diseases and age too fast. So for keeping the strain healthy and strong, give the fish a rest during winter time with temperatures lower than 20°C for 2 or 3 months so they stop producing fry. Allotoca species can be kept down to temperatures of 15 or 16°C without problems for months, some species even lower. In spring, when the temperature slowly increases, they will start spawning at 20 or 21°C and won't stop until it gets colder again or when it gets too warm (25°C?).

 

 This species is doing very well when is kept in the open from spring to fall, starting when the temperature exceeds 15°C water temperature and cold periods are no longer expected. During the warm summer, reproduction will stop and may occur again in fall. Bring the fish in before the temperature goes below 10°C water temperature and keep them cool for the first days, then slowly raise the temperature but try to stay below 20°C over the winter time.

First Describer: 
(Álvarez de Villar, 1959)
Photos: 

Image 1: male from Lago de Opopeo

Copyright by Martin Ravn Tversted/ Lars Vig Jensen

Image 2: female from Lago de Opopeo

Copyright by Martin Ravn Tversted/ Lars Vig Jensen

Image 3: female (Lago de Opopeo) from the gardenpond

Copyright by Martin Ravn Tversted/ Lars Vig Jensen

Image 4: young female from Lago de Opopeo

Copyright by Martin Ravn Tversted/ Lars Vig Jensen

Image 5: male

Image 6: female from Lago de Opopeo

Copyright by Omar Domínguez Domínguez

Images 7 - 9: females from Lago de Opopeo

Copyright: Anton Lamboj

Image 10: male from Lago de Opopeo

Copyright: Anton Lamboj

Images 11 and 12: pair from Lago de Opopeo

Copyright: Anton Lamboj

Image 13: male from the Lago de Opopeo

Copyright by Wolfgang Gessl (www.pisces.at)

Image 14: female from the Lago de Opopeo

Copyright by Wolfgang Gessl (www.pisces.at)

Image 15: male immediately after the catch, Lago de Opopeo

Copyright by Erwin Radax

Image 16: female in the net, Lago de Opopeo

Copyright by Michael Koeck