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A new fish species from Lake Victoria named in honor of the author of Darwin's Dreampond
Date:1/2/2013

Two new species of cichlid fish from Lake Victoria are described by biologists from Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Research Department Marine Zoology) and the Institute of Biology Leiden (Section Integrative Zoology), the Netherlands. One of these species is named in honour of Tijs Goldschmidt, author of Darwin's Dreampond. This book, published in nine languages, describes the dramatic extinction of hundreds of cichlid species in Lake Victoria in the 1980s due to the introduced Nile perch and other human induced environmental changes.

In 1985, Leiden biologists made a survey in the Tanzanian part of the lake, with an old ferry as floating lab, to establish the status of the rapidly declining cichlids. During this expedition Tijs studied the egg spots on the anal fin of cichlids for their possible role in the rapid speciation of these fish. In the Emin Pasha Gulf, among a species nicknamed Haplochromis "argens", individuals were found with aberrant egg dummies and lacking red in the fins. Just the kind of example Tijs was looking for to test his theory of speciation by sexual selection. The aberrant individuals were provisionally named H. "dusky argens".

Both "species" play a part in Tijs' PhD thesis and in other studies. However, a taxonomic description was never made and whether H. "dusky argens" was a separate species or a colour morph remained unclear. In 1987, most cichlid species from the offshore waters of the lake had di
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Contact: Frans Witte
F.Witte@biology.leidenuniv.nl
31-071-521-3620
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

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