Ameca splendens

Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
Ameca splendens
English Name: 
Butterfly Splitfin
Mexican Name: 
Mexclapique (erronously: Mexcalpique) mariposa
Original Description: 

  MILLER, R. R. & J. M. FITZSIMONS (1971): Ameca splendens, a new Genus and Species of Goodeid Fish from Western México, with Remarks on the Classification of the Goodeidae. Copeia, 1971, No. 1: pp 1-13

Holotype: 

  Collection-number: University of Michigan Museum and Zoology, Cat. No. UMMZ-172227.

  The Holotype is an adult male of 60.5mm standard length, collected by R. R. Miller and J. T. Greenbank on March the 25th, 1955. It was collected with a female Allotype of 64mm standard length (Cat. No. UMMZ-172228) and 198 Paratopotypes of standard lenghts between 17 and 90mm (Cat. No. UMMZ-172229).

Paratopotypes of Ameca splendens

Terra typica: 

Miller and Greenbank collected this species in the Río Teuchitlán just below the small town of Teuchitlán, near the road between HW 70 (Ameca to Guadalajara) and Etzatlán, about 75km W of Guadalajara, federal state of Jalisco.

Etymology: 

  The name is derived from the Latin. It is the inflected form of the verb "splendere" which means "to shine", so splendens has the denotation of "bright", "shining" or "glowing". This epithet was chosen in reference to the "striking life colours of the new species" (Miller, 1971).

Synonyms: 

  none

Distribution and ESU's: 

  The Butterfly Splitfin is endemic to the Mexican federal state of Jalisco. It is historically known from the Río Teuchitlán, a tributary of the Río Ameca, from some springs along the NNE shore of the Presa La Vega (the dammed Río Teuchitlán below the town of Teuchitlán), from the Arroyo Los Lobos E of Teuchitlán (an affluent of the Río Teuchitlán), from the Río Ameca itself E of the town of Ameca, from the Balneario Almolya near La Estancia de Ayones (endorheic Laguna Magdalena basin) about 35km NW of Teuchitlán, and from the El Molino pond near Cuyacapán, endorheic Laguna de Sayula basin, about 95km SSE of Teuchitlán. The species disappeared from the El Molino pond in 2010 when it went dry, and furthermore only persisted in the Balneario Almoloya and several Río Teuchitlán springs. Affiliated to three distinct drainages, three subpopulations can be inferred: The Río Ameca subpopulation (type subpopulation), the Laguna Magdalena subpopulation and the Laguna de Sayula subpopulation. The last one disappeared from the wild a few years after it had been discovered and is regarded Extinct. The underlined names are the ones officially used by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía; nevertheless, other ones might be more often in use or better known and therefore prefered.

 

   ESU ist short for Evolutionarily Significant Unit. Each unit expresses an isolated population with different genetic characteristics within one species. ESU's can be defined by Molecular genetics, Morphology and/or Zoogeography and help in indicating different phylogenetic lineages within a species. The abbreviation for an ESU is composed of three letters of the genus, followed by the first two letters of the species name and an ongoing number in each species.

 

  In Ameca splendens, we are not able to distinguish different ESU's, so all fish belong to Amesp1.

 

  The Upper Río Ameca subbasin (green), the Lower Río Grande de Santiago subbasin (yellow) and the Laguna Chapala subbasin (blue) on a Mexico map:

Upper Río Ameca, Lower Río Grande de Santiago and Laguna Chapala subbasins

  The Butterfly Splitfin was originally known from the Upper Río Ameca subbasin, both infrabasins (UAM-U; UAM-L), from the Laguna Sayula infrabasin (SAY), Laguna Chapala subbasin, Río Lerma basin, and from the Laguna Magdalena infrabasin (MAG), Lower Río Grande de Santiago subbasin, also Río Lerma basin. The species became probably extinct from the Sayula valley and from the lower section of the Upper Río Ameca drainage (UAM-L). A historical occurence in the endorheic Laguna Atotonilco infrabasin can be inferred, as this basin was originally part of the same drainage with the Upper Río Ameca and it connects the Río Ameca with the Laguna de Sayula infrabasin. As this distribution is not documented, it is not considered on the map. The bold red line encompasses the species' distribution, the thin red lines separate the infrabasins. For a more detailed distribution, see the map for the Maximum Extent of Occurence (EOO):

Ameca splendens infrabasins

   Maximum Extent of Occurence of Ameca splendens:

Maximum EOO of Ameca splendens

Status : 

  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): Extinct in the Wild

  Conservation status and population trends of Mexican Goodeids (Lyons, 2011): critically endangered/stable?: "This species is known from the Teuchitlán Springs and was recently discovered in the El Moloya Springs in the endorheic Lake Magdalena basin and the El Molino pond in the endorheic Lake Sayula basin (both adjacent to the Ameca basin) by Omar Domínguez-Domínguez, (Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, Morelia, Mexico). Based on his unpublished analyses, the taxonomic status of the two new populations is not completely resolved, but both are morphologically and genetically very similar to Teuchitlán A. splendens and are probably the same species. The Teuchitlán population occupies only a limited part of the springs but is moderately large and seems stable (López-López et al., 2004). However, the El Moloya and El Molino populations appear to be very small. In 2010, the El Molino pond dried up during a drought, and the current status of the population there is unknown. Bailey et al. (2007) provide an analysis of genetic diversity within the Teuchitlán Springs population."

  NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010: Categoría de riesgo (Category of risk): P - En Peligro de Extinción (in danger of extinction)

Habitat: 

  The Butterfly Splitfin lives in clear warm springs (26°-28°C) and their outflows over substrates of mud, sand, gravel, rocks and boulders. Plants in this habitat are a broad-leaved species of Potamogeton, water hyacinths, Ceratophyllum and green algae. Typical habitats are the Balneario El Rincón in Teuchitlán and the Balneario Almoloya near the Laguna Magdalena. The Balneario El Rincón is a trapezium shaped spring with clear water and ground of sand and silt. It has got two right angles in the E and S corner and an open angle in the west corner. The width is about 12m, the longest line extends from E to NNW and is about 25m long. In the sharp NNW angle is an outlet into a dammed sections of the Teuchitlán river used as cattle trough, another outlet is on the outer side of the right angle, draining to the subsequent section of the river. The depth of the spring is around 1m, the walls are concrete but bordered inwards partly with big rocks. In the E angle arises the main spring under the roots of a large fig tree. Though Ameca splendens can be also found in the following sections of the river, the species prefers to live in the spring area and has got the highest density there. Other species co-existing with the Butterfly Splitfin are the native Goodea atripinnis and the exotics Poecilia mexicana, Xiphophorus hellerii, Pseudoxiphophorus bimaculatus and Oreochromis aureus. In subsequent areas of the river can be found additionally Zoogoneticus purhepechus, the reintroduced Zoogoneticus tequila and Notropis amecae, and the catfish Ictalurus dugesii. The Balneario Almoloya is a rectangular shaped spring, 8 x 10m in diameter. Depth and structure are similar to the El Rincón spring. This spring has got an outlet in its W corner, draining into a bigger pool, 60 x 25m and extending southwards. The N part is clear through the incoming spring water, the S part murky brown and partly shaded by trees. The depth is about 150cm, the ground made up of mud, silt and sand. In the E corner of the spring is an outlet into a channel, this channel expanding after about 65m and being dammed after about 250m from the spring. The channel leads eastwards but doesn't reach the Laguna Magdalena. Ameca splendens prefers the spring and the clear part of the bigger pond, only few specimens could be seen in the channel and the S part of the bigger pond. The species occurs there with the same species found in El Rincón spring, additionally Xenotoca cf. melanosoma and doadrioi are inahbiting at least the big pool and the channel. Few more springs in the vicinity of Teuchitlán are known.

Río Teuchitlán Río Teuchitlán

Río Teuchitlán

Río Teuchitlán

 Balneario Almoloya Balneario Almoloya  

spring at the Presa La Vega, restaurant Soky

Biology: 

Young individuals (17mm long) taken in the wild in February and March indicate a reproduction in midwinter to early spring, but in the warm waters of its habitats, the reproductive period may be greatly extended.

Diet: 

  This species is mainly herbivorous as can be inferred from its long coiled gut, the lack of a discrete stomach, its numerous gill rakers and its bifid teeth. It grazes on filamentous algae (mostly Ulotrichales, Zygnematales and Oedogoniales) and diatoms. Sparse Mosquito larvae, copepods and oligochaets also occur in the guts, and small insects and spiders falling on the water surface are readily taken (Kingston, 1979).

Size: 
The maximum known standard length is 90mm (Miller et al., 2005).
Colouration: 

  R. R. Miller described in the original paper the colour pattern of both sexes very detailed: "The life colours of mature adults readily distinguish the sexes. In the male, the outer third of the caudal fin is brilliant yellow-orange to deep orange followed medially by a curved broad, black bar about equal to diameter of pupil, and with the basal part of the fin milky-white. The distal fourth of the anal fin is also yellow-orange to orange, as are the pectoral and pelvic fins. The dorsal fin is mostly dusky, but has a narrow to moderate yellow or orange margin. The sides show metallic bluish to turquoise reflections from the scales, and the head (except top) and abdomen are golden yellow. The back is olivaceous brown. Females are greenish yellow over the caudal peduncle and entire venter and show pale bluish reflections from the scales over the sides; their fins are pale watery, with no bright colours." Typical for young Ameca is a mottled pattern with a large spot at the base of the caudal fin and a conspicuous row of two to seven (usually four or five) spots below the midside of the caudal peduncle forward to above the pelvic fins.

Sexual Dimorphism: 

 Males and females of the Butterfly Splitfin are easy to distinguish. The safest characteristic is the Splitfin in males, means the for Goodeinae typical mating organ formed by a notch after the first seven shortened rays of the Anal fin. Additionally, male Almeca splendens have a much bigger Dorsal fin than females. A third and also very distinct character is the colouration: males have a broad yellow to white (rare) terminal band on the caudal fin, attended by an also broad black band, while females have a clear caudal fin with a few short black lines following the fin rays. This pattern is species typical. Additionally, males have a broad black band in the middle of the body, superimposed by numerous shiny scales while females have very few of these scales and several longitudinal rows of black dots.

Ameca splendens male 

Ameca splendens female

Remarks: 

  Miller reported (1982) that this species was collected in Roger's Spring, Clark County, Nevada, (pers. comm. to Miller by P.J. Unmack), where it is now extirpated. It had been exposed there with several other exotic species (Deacon et al., 1964).

 

  Some hybridisation attempts have been undertaken with the Butterfly Splitfin to solve its relationship. All of them, among these Xenotoca variata, Xenoophorus captivus and "Xenotoca" eiseni haven't been successful. To clear the relationship of Ameca splendens, R. R. Miller and T. Uyeno initiated also a study of chromosomes that lead finally to Karyotype analyses of 35 species. Besides that, the courtship-behaviour as well as the intrasexual-behaviour of this species has been well documented. Ameca splendens is also one of few rare cases in Goodeids, where an ornamentic form has been selected and distributed in the hobby. M. Kempkes selected a dark strain, that seems to be inherited autosomatic-recessiv. 

Husbandry: 

  Looking on the biotopes of Ameca splendens, they suggest the species may prefer a habitat with moderate to swift current, structured with rocks, roots and small areas with dense submerse vegetation. Intraspecific aggession can be observed, especially between males of same size, so structures to prevent the fish from seeing each other permanently is helpful. The level of aggression is decreasing with the number of fish in the aquarium. Sometimes fins of other fish are attacked, but usually not from Goodeids. Fry is rarely eaten, so it is possible to get fast a big and flock breeding colony. 

  The recommended tank size is at least 250 liters, bigger tanks with a generous base and little height (25cm are enough) are better for sure. A bit with roots and/or rocks structured tanks with few patches of dense submerse vegetation in the corners and bigger free areas to swim seem to do best with this species. The current should be swift to moderate, especially as the oxygene level should be quite high (at least 8mg/l). 

  In the wild, adults of this species feed mainly from algae and aufwuchs, so much light to help algae grow and feeding with vegetables and additionally fiber-rich middle sized food from animalistic sources will be best for this fish. In aquarium, it feeds very well from flake food, granulate and tablets, additionally freeze dried food like Brine Shrimps is eaten greedy. The species is anything else but shy.   

  Concerning water quality, this species is in need of bigger water changes (60-80% every week) like most of the Goodeids, especially spring and river inhabiting species. Therefore an automatic water changing system can be helpful. Otherwise, in combination with constant temperatures higher than 25°C, fish may get sick, lose resistance against diseases and age too fast. So for keeping the strain healthy and strong, and for regulating the number of fry, give the fish (in contrast to its natural habitat) a rest during winter time with temperatures lower than 20°C for 2 or 3 months so they stop producing fry. 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 (28°C).

  This species does very well when is kept in the open from spring to fall, starting when the water temperature by day exceeds 17°C and cold periods are no longer expected. Bring them out in the early afternoon, the time of the day with the highest water temperature. During the warm summer, reproduction will stop and may occur again in fall. Bring the fish in before the water temperature deceeds 17°C by day and keep them cool for the first days, then slowly raise the temperature but try to stay below 20°C over the winter time.

Locations