By Charles Hawks Sponsored By The Angelfish Society

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1 By Charles Hawks Sponsored By The Angelfish Society

2 About this presentation In July, 2011, The Angelfish Society held its second annual Angelfish Show at the American Cichlid Association convention in Silver Springs, Maryland. TAS member Charles Hawks was our sponsored speaker and gave a talk on how to distinguish the different species of wild angelfish. This presentation contains the presentation slides he used for his talk, with the addition of text slides that summarize information given in his talk.

3 About our speaker Charles Hawks, a member of The Angelfish Society since 2005, has been keeping angelfish for 35 years. Charles was a speaker at the 2010 ACA Convention, and has been a featured guest speaker for the Potomoc Valley Aquarium Society, Federation Of Texas Aquarium Societys (FOTAS), Midwest Cichlid Association (MCA), and Milwaukee Aquarium Society (MAS). His presentation gives an overview of the accepted species of wild angelfish with guidelines on visual identification.

4 Three recognized species: Pterophyllum altum Pterophylum scalare Pterophylum leopoldi

5 Pterophyllum altum Altums are disc-shaped, laterally compressed (flattened) cichlids with tall, erect fins. They differ from the more common P. scalare in several ways. Look for these features in the photo on the next slide. The body shape is similar to that of P. scalare but the forehead is more steeply sloped and the body is taller. The fins are more elongated. The body is silver gray with a greenish iridescence. Four dark, transverse bands cover the body. The first dark band runs through the eye; the second runs near the mid-section of the body, while the third runs from the tip of the dorsal fin, through the body, and to the tip of the anal fin. The final band runs on the caudal peduncle.

6 PTEROPHYLLUM ALTUM DEEP ANGELFISH TALL ANGELFISH ORINOCO ANGELFISH

7 Altum habitat Pterophyllum altum is sometimes referred to as Orinoco Angelfish. It is found in the wild in the Orinoco River Basin and the Upper Rio Negro watershed in Southern Venezuela, Southeastern Colombia and extreme Northern Brazil. The species is the largest of the genus and specimens exceeding 50 cm (almost 20 inches) in height from tip of dorsal to tip of anal fin) have been reported in the wild. In aquariums, specimens are known to have grown to over 40 cm (almost 16 inches). The region where P. altum is found is shown on the next slide.

8 Altum habitat

9 More about altum habitat Altums are found in well oxygenated, extremely soft waters of Upper and Middle Orinoco tributaries from the Guiana Shield Highlands, with a ph range between 4.5 to 5.8. These are very transparent blackwaters with almost no conductivity. Temperature ranges between 78 and 84 F (26 and 29 C). They are also found in the Atabapo River and Inirida River floodplain, down the Casiquiare and Guainía floodplain where the Rio Negro is born, before entering Brazilian territory. Altums prefer to spawn on submerged roots and tree branches in a moderate water current.

10 BLACKWATER PH ATABAPO + INIRIDA RIVER PLAINS UPPER+MID ORINOCO TRIBUTARYS CASIQUIARE + GUAINIA FLOODPLAIN

11 Distinguishing features The next three slides highlight distinguishing features of altums. One distinguishing characteristic of altums is a notch above the nares (supraorbital indention). Another distinguishing feature is the intermediate bars between the dark stripes, and a distinct narrow white band between the dark strips and the intermediate bars. Note in the photos that the stripes taper at the bottom. The fins and tail have red striations. Altums may also show a black spot on the operculum (gill cover).

12 ACUTE SUBORBITAL INDENTATION (NARES)

13

14 4 DARK STRIPES 3 INTERMEDIATE RED/BROWN STRIPE RED STRIATIONS IN FINS STRIPES TAPER TO BOTTOM

15 BLACK OPERCULUM SPOT

16 The next few slides show photos of altums under different lighting and conditions. See if you can identify the distinguishing features that tell you these are altums.

17

18 Even with a poor quality photo or a poor quality altum angel, as shown here, you can look for distinguishing features to determine the species. Here, the four distinctive dark stripes and the intermediate stripes with the narrow white bands in between are apparent.

19

20

21

22 Pterophyllum Scalare Pterophyllum scalare is extremely widespread in its native habitat - the Amazon basin. It was originally described as Zeus scalaris in 1823, and has also been described be several different names, including Platax scalaris, Plataxoides dumerilii, Pterophillum eimekei, Pterophyllum dumerilii, and Pterophyllum eimekei.

23 P. Scalare habitat Its natural habitat is the Amazon River basin in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, particularly the Ucayali, Solimões and Amazon rivers, as well as the rivers of Amapá in Brazil, the Oyapock River in French Guiana and the Essequibo River in Guyana. It is found in swamps or flooded grounds where vegetation is dense and the water is either clear or silty. Its native water conditions range from a ph of 6.0 to 8.0, a water hardness range of 5-13 dh, and water temperature ranging from 24 to 30 C (75 to 86 F).

24 P. Sclare Habitat

25 P. Scalare features Like altums, scalare is a disc-shaped laterally compressed cichlid. The dorsal and anal fins stand tall and erect. The caudal fin is fan-shaped. The iris of the eye is often red in color.

26 Wide variations Wild populations show significant variation depending on where they're collected, and they may well end up divided into new species after more detailed studies. They have the same four dark bars as altums, but do not have the intermediate band, and do not have the then white band next to the dark stripes. The dark bars are thin and even top to bottom with silver in between the bars, as shown in the next slide. See if you can identify the features that make P. scalare different from P. altum.

27 SAME 4 DARK BARS BUT THIN AND EVEN TOP TO BOTTOM INTERMEDIATE AREAS SILVERS

28 Many variations in appearance Just as scalare are found in a range of habitats with a wide variety of water quality variations, they also have a range of variations in appearance. Although scalare is predominantly silver, red/brown carotene storage adds considerable variation in coloration. Wild scalare may have freckle-like spots, although small black spot often found on wild-caught P. scalare are parasite cysts. In time the parasites will hatch and the dark spots will disappear. (The parasites are a bird parasite and harmless to angelfish.) The next slide shows a typical wild scalare.

29 MANY LOCAL COLOR VARIATIONS DARK SPOTS ON WILDS (PARASITES) RED/BROWN CAROTENE STORAGE BLUE/GREEN/BRONZE FIN STRIATIONS

30 Profile and eyes The scalare typically has a steep dorsal profile similar to the altum, but it is not deeply notched. The iris is mostly red in color.

31 STEEP (NOT NOTCHED) PROFILE MOSTLY RED EYES

32

33 Peruvian altum The angelfish commonly called Peruvian angelfish or Peruvian altum is currently believed to be a variety of Pterophyllum scalare, but this may change in time. Peruvian angelfish have the tall body of P. altum but the coloration of P. scalare. If you study the photos in the next two slides you will see that the dark stripes are narrower than on altums, and the intermediate stripes and the thin white stripes are not present. Also the profile does not have the deep notching of the altum.

34 PERUVIAN NOT ALTUM

35

36 BLACK OPERCULUM SPOT PHANTOM DORSAL STRIPE

37 PTEROPHYLLUM LEOPOLDI TEARDROP ANGEL, ROMAN-NOSED ANGEL, DWARF ANGEL PLATAXOIDES LEOPOLDI, PLATAXOIDES DUMERILII, PTEROPHYLLUM DUMERILII SOLIMOES RIVER, RUPUNUNI RIVER, AMAZON BASIN

38 Pterophyllum leopoldi Pterophyllum leopoldi is a river dwelling angelfish species found in rivers in the Amazon River basin along the Solimões River, Amazon River, and Rupununi River. P. leopoldi is the smallest of the angelfish species and the most aggressive.

39 P. Leopoldi Habitat

40 Leopoldi features Leopoldi looks a lot like small, dumpy wild-type scalare. It is the smallest species of angelfish, growing to about 10 cm (4 inches) in length. It also is the drabbest in coloration. Leopoldi can be easily distinguished from the other species by a large black spot that lies between the second and third vertical bands and close to the base of the dorsal fin. Along the edges of the black bands are fairly wide offwhite bands, giving the fish an overall stripey appearance.

41

42 Other distinctive features Leopoldi has a distinctive, drooping snout with a smooth profile. For this reason is is sometimes referred to as the teardrop angelfish, long-nosed angelfish, dwarf angelfish, or Roman-nosed angelfish. It is distinguished from other species of angelfish by the absence of a pre-dorsal notch. Note the smooth dorsal profile and the drooping snout in the next series of photos.

43 TEAR DROP NOSE SMALLEST WILD MOST AGGRESSIVE

44

45 STRIPES/OFFWHITE BANDS MOOD SPOT

46

47

48 We hope you enjoyed this presentation. Charles Hawks speaking at the 2011 ACA convention.

49

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