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
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

Etymology: 

  The name is derived from the Latin and means: "bright or glowing", in reference to the "striking life colours of the new species" (Miller).

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, 25.03.1955.

English Name: 
Butterfly Splitfin
Mexican Name: 
Mexclapique mariposa
Synonyms: 

  none

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 Ameca splendens, following Uyeno, Miller & Fitzsimons, 1983:

2n = 26    22M/ 2m/ 2stt  

Size: 
The maximum known SL is 90 mm (Miller et al, 2005).
Terra typica: 

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

Status after IUCN: 

  Extinct in wild

Status following other sources: 

  Endangered; Comment: 2 new populations found

Distribution and ESU's: 

  This species comes from the Pacific Slope and inhabits the Río Ameca and its tributary, the Río Teuchitlán in Jalisco. More habitats in the ichthyological closely connected Sayula valley have been detected quite recently.

Habitat: 

  The Butterfly Splitfin former lived in clear warm springs (26°-28°C) and their outflows (Río Teuchitlán), a stream with moderate to slight currents averaging 6m wide and up to 1.2m (but generally less than 1m) deep. Substrates were mud, sand, gravel, rocks and boulders. Plants in this habitat were a broad-leaved species of Potamogeton, water hyacinths, Ceratophyllum and green algae. In the original description, Miller wrote, that the habitat was heavily used for irrigation, drinking water and washing, with much pollution by man and livestock. He described the water continuously muddied by cattle, horses and pigs wading or being bathed in the stream. Nevertheless, he documented also that the fishes there have been exraordinarily prolific.

 

  J. A. Peters and W. B. MacIntosh caught in 1949 some adult Ameca splendens in the Río Ameca about 12km east of Ameca, the only other locality where this species has been documented from at this time.

 

  Nowadays, this fish has disappeared from both ríos and survived only in the waterpark of El Rincón, near Ameca, which is the main-spring of the Río Teuchitlán. It is also called Balneario Teuchitlán (100 x 70m, depth to 1.3m) and the species is abundant there. At least one remnant population exists in a small spring nearby.

 

  Quite recently, this species has been found in the Sayula valley and in some habitats in the Teuchitlán/Ameca area. The Fish Fauna of the Sayula valley is closely related to fish from the Teuchitlán area (e.g. a form of Skiffia resembling Skiffia francesae). It seems that Ameca splendens is wider distributed than presumed and is thought to be not more critically endangered. Nevertheless, the habitats in the Sayula valley and otherwhere are in danger, too, so this must be seen critically.

 

Balneario El Rincón, Río Teuchitlán IBalneario El Rincón, Río Teuchitlán II

 

Balneario Al Moloya IIIBalneario Al Moloya IV

Colouration: 

R. R. Miller pictures in the original description 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 newborn young of Ameca is the pattern of spotting with a large spot at the base of the caudal fin and a conspicuous row of from two to seven (usually four or five) spots below the midside of the caudal peduncle forward to above the pelvic fins.

 

Females can be easily distinguished from the similar looking Xenotoca variata and Chapalichthys pardalis by the flamming black stripe pattern in the caudal fin.

Biology: 

Individuals 17mm long taken in the wild on 13 February and 25 March indicate reproduction in midwinter to early spring. In this warm stream and its springs, the reproductive period may be greatly extended.

Diet: 

  This species is chiefly herbivorous as can be seen from its long coiled gut, the lack of a discrete stomach, its numerous gill rakers and its bifid teeth. It grazes on filamentous algae and diatoms (mostly Ulotrichales, Zygnematales and Oedogoniales). 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).

Remarks: 

  Miller reported, that on 6 May 1982, 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, even with the related 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.

 

  Huddle (1967) compared the multiple hemoglobins of cyprinodontoid fishes, among them 8 species of Goodeids. Splitfins showed more fractions (8) than Poecilids or Cyprinodontids (5-7), and only Ameca splendens displayed a variance from the high uniformity found among the other seven species.

 

  The courtship-behaviour as well as the intrasexual-behaviour of this species is well documented.

 

  Ameca splendens is one of the 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. Some tank-raised populations of Ameca are paler and a shade ligther than usual, replacing the yellow terminal band in the caudal fin by a whitish one. 

Husbandry: 

 

Attention: This are not the correct husbandry guidelines for this species, it is just a working template that needs to be adapted!!!

  

  Looking on the biotopes of Allodontichthys hubbsi, they suggest the species may prefer a habitat with moderate to swift current, structured with gravel, rocks and boulders. Most breeders observed a high level of aggression between the adult fish, so the tank set up should prevent the fish from seeing each other most of the time. 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. Unfortunately, it was not able until now to breed bigger colonies so this statement is made from the comparison with related species and the personal comments of successful breeders.

 

 The recommended tank size is at least 150 liters, bigger ones with a generous base and little height (25cm are enough) are better for sure. With rocks 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 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. 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 may do 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.

Locations