Article © Shane Linder, uploaded January 01, 2002.
Had a great few days of collecting in Carabobo State and actually found another aquarist! I'll write more on both later. I wanted to share some notes on various Venezuelan fishes based on conversations between German aquarist Norbert Flauger and myself. Norbert has been collecting in Venezuela for years and has collected both the Amazonas region and the Orinoco Delta (Amacuro).
Diamond Tetras: Originally described from the Lake Valencia area. Norbert said the last time he went collecting there he caught only a single individual. Two industrial parks have been constructed near the town of Valencia and have really contaminated the lake. The good news: Years ago Lake Valencia drained into the Rio Tuy system. I have found Diamond tetras in both the Rio Tuy and the Rio Guapo. I do not know how long the two population have been separated, but it would be worth investigating if they have split into two species. Anyway, the Tuy and Guapo forms are very beautiful with more purple in the fins. The Valencia form has white edges to the fins.
Guppies: The farther west you go in Venezuela, the guppies get more blue/ green coloring. To the east more red/orange. I do not know why, but this is a fact Norbert and I have both observed.
Corydoras aeneus "Black": is the form from the Llanos. The northern form is more green and the black form is found in the plains north of the Orinoco. Norbert has a beautiful collection of the black form.
LDA 02 / L075 / L124: Hypostomus "big spot" is found in the Amazonas State region near Puerto Ayacucho.
L106 / L122: The fish in the Aqualog book is similar to a species in the north of Venezuela. The fish pictured in Baensch Atlas #4 is from Amazonas. The southern fish has a deeply forked caudal and much more yellow. Norbert has collected the Amazonian form pictured in Baensch #4.
Panaque suttonorum: This fish is not gone. Exports were coming from Colombia and the river system was destroyed somehow (possibly pollution from a factory). However, this fish was described from Venezuela! We located some spots on the map where this fish should be. Sadly, this area is under Guerrilla control so we will not be collecting there anytime soon. Do not expect to see very many of these fish imported.
LDA 22: Found in Cojedes State near Tinaco. Also found in this system are Lamontichthys, Otocinclus, Rineloricaria, Ancistrus, Hypostomus, and others. A collecting trip will take place soon.
L094 / L123: is Aphanotorulus ammophilus which is common in Cojedes. The fish is actually correctly labeled on the poster that comes with the "Most Beautiful L Numbers" book published by Aqualog.
L036: This fish greatly resembles the "common pleco" of the Tuy / Guarico systems. This is bout as close to H. plecostomus as I have seen. Western Venezuela is supposed to have H. watwata, but I have not collected any.
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