Neoophorus regalis

Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
Neoophorus regalis
English Name: 
Balsas Allotoca
Mexican Name: 
Chorumo de Balsas
Original Description: 

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


  There is no Collection-number available.

  The Holotype is an adult female of 76.5mm SL, collected by P. Francke, 29.08.1958.

Terra typica: 

  The Holotype comes from the "vicinity of Los Reyes" in the state of Michoacán.


  Álvarez del Villar named the species in dependence on the locality "Los Reyes" which means "Royal couple". The Latin word "regalis" means therefore "belonging to the Royal couple" or "regal".


Alloophorus regalis   Álvarez, 1970

Allotoca regalis   Espinosa-Perez et al., 1993

Distribution and ESU's: 

  The Balsas Allotoca is endemic to the Mexican federal states of Jalisco and Michoacán. It is historically known from the Río El Chivo drainage S of Los Reyes de Salgado, a Río Grande affluent. It is also known from the Presa Tarecuato and the Ojo de Agua de Tocumbo in the Río Grande headwaters, and the Río Quitupán, an endorheic river about 45km NW of Tocumbo. All these collection points belong to the Cotija region, Río Grande headwaters, Río Balsas system. Futhermore, it was collected in the Canal Tarecuato near Aquiles Serdán, an affluent of the Presa Nueva, Canal Sahuayo drainage, Laguna Chapala system. Known from three river drainages, three subpopulations can be inferred: the endorheic Río Quitupán subpopulation, the Río Grande subpopulation (type subpopulation), both Cotija region, Upper Río Balsas drainage, and the Canal Tarecuato subpopulation, Laguna Chapala drainage. 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 the first 3 letters of the genus, followed by the first 2 letters of the species name and an ongoing number in each species.


  In Neoophorus regalis we do not distinguish any ESU`s. All fish belong to Neore1.


  The Upper Río Grande (green) and Laguna Chapala (yellow) subbasins on a Mexico map:

Upper Río Grande and Laguna Chapala subbasins

  The Balsas Allotoca occurs mainly in the Cotija infrabasin (COT) of the Upper Río Grande subbasin, Río Balsas basin, and in borderlands of the adjacent Río Sahuayo infrabasin (SAH) of the Laguna Chapala subbasin, Río Lerma basin. 

Neoophorus regalis infrabasins

   Maximum Extent of Occurence of Neoophorus regalis:

Maximum EOO of Neoophorus regalis

Status : 

   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): Critically Endangered

  Conservation status and population trends of Mexican Goodeids (Lyons, 2011): critically endangered/declining – At present this species survives in only one small unnamed stream near the city of Los Reyes, Michoacán, in the upper Balsas River basin. Historically, the species was widespread and moderately common in streams and wetlands near Los Reyes (Miller et al. 2005), but distribution and abundance have declined steadily over the last 25 years as wetlands have been drained and streams have been channelized and diverted for agriculture. Introductions of non-native green swordtails and blue tilapia may also have contributed to losses. As of the early 2000’s, N. regalis was known from four locations (Domínguez-Domínguez et al. 2005b), but 2008 and 2011 surveys found the species at only one of these locations, where it was uncommon.


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


  The habitats are quite different. In Tocumbo, the habitat has been modified to a concrete pool, whereas the habitats near Los Reyes and Aquiles Serdán are mainly small ditches and rivers with milky and turbid water. Vegetation is rare, mainly water hyacinths and dense green algae stands. The water depths prefered by this species are less than 0.5m. Neoophorus regalis can be found usually in quiet bays.


  This species is one of the most mystique among Goodeids as nearly nothing is known about its life. Only few observations in the wild have been made and the stocks in captivity disappeared quickly again.


  Due to the dentition of this species, the feeding habits seem to be similar to species of the genus Allotoca, means hunting small invertebrates and insects, fallen on the surface.

The maximum known standard length is 60mm (Miller et al., 2005).

  The colouration of Neoophorus regalis is unique among Goodeids and has been described by Álvarez del Villar as "dark-gray on the dorsal part of the body down to the midline of the sides. The colour becomes clearer very fast till it looks whitish on the venter. No blotches or bars can be detected. The fins appear dark".


  This species was thought to have disappeared in the wild for a lot of years. As recently as 1993, it has been rediscovered by D. Isla and J. Mangan near Los Reyes de Salgado and since this time found in some small habitats mainly south of the town and a small habitat near Aquiles Serdán. From Tocumbo, where it had been detected in 1978, this species might have disappeared.


  Neoophorus regalis had been transfered erroneously to the genus Alloophorus in 1970 by Álvarez because of a similar appearance of the trophotaenia. It took another 25 years before the relationship with Allotoca has been realized again and in 2001, Radda, Meyer and Dominguez refered this species again to the (now) monotypic genus Neoophorus. However, the close relationship with the genus Allotoca is encouraged by several studies (Dominguez, Webb).


  This species seems to belong to the most endangered species of Goodeids, due to small habitats and a not very colourful appearance (wherefore it isn't very popular among aquarists). Following Domínguez (pers. comm. 2011), the species is not able to withstand a broad range of water parameters, so even the husbandry seems to be difficult.

  Recent sampling (before 2006) efforts have found only 4 small populations with declining numbers. Sugar cane production and excessive water demand threaten each of these populations. This species is in urgent need of being monitored in the wild and in need of maintenance in captivity!



  Looking on the biotopes of Neoophorus regalis, 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 backside 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.