Tag Archive: Fresh water

Kingdom: Animal
Phylum: Chordate
Class: Actinoptery
Order: Osteoglossiformes
Family: Mormyridae  (Elephantfishes)
Genus/species: Gnathonemus petersii

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The snout is its most unique feature. It is not actually a nose, but an extension of the mouth that is covered in electroreceptors that capture information from the weak electric field the fish generates. Receptors, which cover much of the body are used to navigate, avoid predators, and find food and mates in the turbid waters of its habitat.

Maximum length: 35.0 cm (13 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: G. petersii are found in African fresh waters often murky.

DIET IN THE WILD: They feed mostly at night on worms and insects probably aided by electro-sensory inputs.

IUCN: Least Concern

Elephantnose fish have the largest brain of any fish their size with a brain size to body weight ratio higher than a human’s.
They have been used by water departments in the U.S. and Germany to test the quality of drinking water. When the quality of the water declines, the amount of electrical pulses released increases.

They are depicted in ancient Egyptian tombs dating from 2500 BC


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Senses Cluster 2019

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4734491953/in/album-72157675574079744/

Frontiers of Zoology https://frontiersinzoology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1742-9994-6-21

fishbase. www.fishbase.se/summary/Gnathonemus-petersii.html


Ron’s WordPress Shortlink https://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Zw

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Cichlidae (Cichlids)
Subfamily: Cichlasomatinae

Genus/species: Hypselecara temporalis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Chocolate Cichlid is an egg-shaped fish with a small mouth. The eye iris may range in color from amber-gold to bright red. Body color is a mustard-yellow with a large, characteristic black blotch at the mid-section of the body and often a horizontal stripe. On the caudal peduncle are some similar, but smaller markings. The belly and throat regions are bright red as is the area near the gill covering and the surrounding parts of the eye. The fins are red with some mustard-yellow areas.  

Length up to 15 cm, (5-8 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in South America: Amazon River basin In slow flowing, turbid waters.

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on insects at or above the surface.

REPRODUCTION: H. temporalis sexes are separate. Adult males grow larger and have a hump on their head. Fertilization external. Eggs are deposited upon vertical substrates and guarded by both parents. 


CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List and CITES: Not Evaluated


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/12323

 eol Encyclopedia of life http://eol.org/pages/212750/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink:  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-b0

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Serrasalmidae

Genus/species: Colossoma macropomum


The Black Pacu body is laterally compressed with an arched back. Color is basically gray to olive above, dark below often with spots and blemishes in the middle. All fins are black. It is the second heaviest scaled freshwater fish in South America (after the Arapiama)

Length up to 100 cm (40 inches) Weight up to 30 kg (66 lbs)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins as wild form; aquacultured form widely distributed in South America. Found in open water of large rivers and seasonally flooded forests. Young stay in black waters of flood plains until maturity. Has been introduced to Thailand and is established

DIET IN THE WILD: Pacu teeth in front are molars for chewing, NOT ripping. Good for eating fruits, greens and grain during seasonal flooding. Also feeds on zooplankton, insects, snails and decaying plants
ACADEMY DIET: Fruit, pears apples and bananas. (Allan Jan, biologist).

REPRODUCTION: Black Pacu aka Tambaqui usually spawn once per year in whitewater rivers and inundated floodplain forests. They are substratum egg scatterers and do not guard their eggs.

Life span: 20 years or more.

IUCN Red List and CITES Not Evaulated

REMARKS: C. macropomum has large nasal openings for excellent odor detection.
They can extend the lower lip in low oxygen water to increase flow across gills.
Adults are important as seed dispersers for large-seeded plants during seasonal flooding.
Farmed as a food fish in South America. They are popular in aquaculture because it can live in mineral poor waters and is very resistant to diseases.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/263

Docent Rainforest Course Materials, California Academy of Sciences. 2014

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-8v

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2973190705/in/set-72157620568438047/

United Nations www.fao.org/fishery/introsp/3885/en


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae
Tribe: Lamprologini

Genus/species: Neolamprologus species

Male Neolamprologus brevis for example reach lengths of just 4.5 cm (1.75 inches) while females are even smaller, around 3 cm (1.25 inches) long. These cichlids probably evolved from fish that lived in rocky cave, but pressure from competition and the many predators of Lake

Lake Tanganyika has very high levels of carbonate hardness, and the calcium in the water ensures that empty shells dissolve much more slowly than they do in most rivers and lakes. In some places there are piles of shells more than 3 metres (10 feet) deep.

DIET IN THE WILD: Zooplankton and small invertebrates

REPRODUCTION: To protect their young eggs are laid by the female within a shell and fertilized as she lays them or immediately after by the male.The female protect the eggs within the shell by fanning her pectoral fins to keep the internal water oxygenated, and often rearranging the substrate to create barriers or to hide the shell from predators.

The eggs hatch within 48 hours, and the yolk sac is absorbed within five days. Fry typically emerge from the shell a week after spawning and they remain benthic for days or weeks after their emergence.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Animal Attractions 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15764972796/in/album-72157629304397467/

EOL eol.org/pages/5344/details

Conscientious Aquarium www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_7/volume_7_1/shell_dwell.html

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Ambystomatidae

Genus/species: Ambystoma andersoni

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: A. andersoni is dark, mottled brownish-green in color. the body is long and cylindrical with short legs. Note the well-developed “costal” grooves Although it does develop lungs,  A. andersoni retains its branch-like gills. These are three external projections from the neck covered with feathery filaments  increase the surface area for gas exchange.

Length up to 30 cm (14 inches)

Anderson's Salamander29682163253_8ab1906ee7_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Lake Zacapu, Central Mexico. Prefers deep vegetated portions of streams.

DIET IN THE WILD: Aquatic invertebrates

REPRODUCTION: A. andersoni is polygynandrous (promiscuous). Eggs hatch at 10 to 14 days and the young are immediately independent. It is an example of neoteny in that animals become sexually mature without undergoing the final metamorphosis to the land-borne adult.

Longevity up to 17 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN RED LIST Critically Endangered 2014
The major threat to this species is the pollution of the lake due to surrounding agricultural and tourist activities, next to the lagoon and in conjunction with it is a new bathing area. The animals are also heavily harvested for food, and predatory fish have been introduced into the lake, which might well pose a major problem for the species.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium 2016

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/29682163253/in/album-72157608456457315/

Amphibiaweb   amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Ambystoma&am…

Arkive www.arkive.org/achoque/ambystoma-andersoni/

EDGE  www.edgeofexistence.org/amphibians/species_info.php?id=554

IUCN RED LIST  www.iucnredlist.org/details/59051/0

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Cyprinodontiformes (Rivulines, killifishes and live bearers)
Family: Aplocheilidae (Killifishes)

Genius/species: Pachypanchax patriciae

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Dark longitudinal stripe, ca. one scale row deep, extending from posterior margin of eye to origin of pectorals. Males display two color morphs: red and blue. Red males become less common and disappear completely as one moves from north to south. Length to 5.2 cm (2 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Madagascar small tropical rivers and streams. Tolerates conditions from water deficient in dissolved substances to water with high concentrations of dissolved minerals, pH values from acidic to slightly alkaline. Bottom dweller.

DIET IN THE WILD: Terrestrial and aquatic insects

PREDATORS: Mostly by birds, dragonfly nymphs and other predatory insects as well as piscivorous fishes.



LOCATIONRainforest Madagascar MA05


fishbase  www.fishbase.us/summary/63019

arkive  www.arkive.org/pachypanchax/pachypanchax-patriciae/image-…

EOL  eol.org/pages/993340/details

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157627949403670/

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Kindom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinoptergii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae (cichlids)
Subfamily: Etroplinae

Genus/species: Paretroplus menarambo

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: When young, Mearambos are a pale gold with black dots in a pin stripe pattern. As they reach adulthood, around 4 inches or 3 years of age, they are blue/gray to almost white with black dot pin stripes. The fins are edged in red, especially the tail. Max length : 12.8 cm (5 in).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to Madagascar. Present in the freshwater flood plain lakes of the Bemarivo River, the major northwards-flowing tributary of the Sofia River in northwestern Madagascar. The species is now known to occur in a single lake of that system: Lac Tseny.

DIET IN THE WILD: Have teeth specially designed for crushing snail shells.

REPRODUCTION: Substrate spawner. Eggs are laid in a pit and will adhere to surfaces such as driftwood.

PREDATORS: Critically endangered species threatened by invasive species and over-fishing.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list: Critically Endangered (CR)
No data are available on the wild population; previously it was thought to have disappeared from its native range, but more recent surveys rediscovered the species in Lac Tseny Habitat degradation, the presence of invasive exotic species and overfishing account for its Critically Endangered status. Breeding populations of this species are maintained in captivity.

LOCATION Madagascar MA04


fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=57958

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/44492/0

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/211122/details

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157627949403670/

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Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinoptgerygii
Order: Periciformes
Family: Chichlidae (Cichlids)

Genus/species: Paratilapia polleni

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Mid-sized cichlid, growing to 30 cm (12 in) in length; males grow up to a third again as large as females; black velvet basic coloration with pattern of blue and gold spangling. Distinct spot present in dorsal fin of juveniles and sexually quiescent adults.
Adult male fish are much larger than females and develop longer extensions on the dorsal and anal fins. They also tend to have a more rounded head shape.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to Madagascar found in freshwater at altitudes up to 1,500 m (5000 ft) and exhibit tolerance for a broad temperature range.

DIET IN THE WILD: Carnivorous, juveniles feed chiefly on planktonic crustaceans and insect larvae; larger fish are crepuscular predators with a preference for small fishes, but also take invertebrates as opportunity presents.

REPRODUCTION: Marakely parenting is a two-fish job. They are monogamous, biparentally custodial substrate spawners. Pairs defend a territory and both sexes assume a velvety black base coloration as spawning approaches. They excavate a gravel pit and spawn in it excluding other fish from area. Each egg has a long adhesive fiber that adheres to other egg fibers, forming a rope of eggs (up to a thousand) rolled into an egg mass. The male patrols the perimeter of the territory as the fry become mobile four days post-hatching. Both parents follow the school of fry, retrieving stragglers by mouth and spitting them back into the school. Parental care continues for about three weeks. These protective behaviors promote reproductive success common to many cichlid species.

PREDATORS: In the southern part of its range, the exotic spotted snakehead is both a competitor and predator. Paratilapia polleni have lived for up to 15 years in aquariums.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Vulnerable (VU)   Qualifies as Vulnerable on account of its limited distribution and fragmented habitat (mainly due to deforestation of river catchments) which are causing a continued decline in available habitat and the number of mature individuals in the population. 

A Marakely captive breeding program is supported by many aquariums and zoos.

REMARKS. The most primitive living representatives of the large Cichlidae family.  Some of Madagascar’s freshwater fish species have ancestors dating back to the Jurassic period.

Madagascar MA04


fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/Paratilapia-polleni.html

IUCN  www.iucnredlist.org/details/16199/0

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest Docent Training Manual 2014

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3637198814/in/set-72157620708610230/

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