Q. I used to be just lately on-line researching some data on my kennyi cichlid fish and got here throughout one thing somewhat fascinating, though complicated to me. For so long as I’ve stored my kennyi, I’ve identified it to have the scientific title Pseudotropheus lombardoi. According to this one web site, the title has been modified to Metriaclima lombardoi. My query is, when and why has this transformation occurred? I haven’t been capable of finding a lot data regarding the “new” scientific title for the kennyi. Any data in any respect could be appreciated!
Schuylerville, New York
A. Common names range significantly. A single fish could also be identified by many alternative widespread names — and that’s simply in English. A scientific title, however, is meant to be a reputation for an animal that’s commonplace worldwide and by no means adjustments. In an ideal world, that will be true — however in the true world, it’s not. Scientific names typically change for legitimate causes.
Scientists everywhere in the world classify fish, usually with out the information of one another’s work. This was very true earlier than the Internet made it straightforward for them to change data. So it isn’t uncommon for a fish to have been described greater than as soon as. The sort specimens are saved in numerous dusty museums all through the world. As information accumulates, title duplications are found and glued. There is a rule that the primary title assigned to a fish is the legitimate title. So the title assigned by the one that described the fish first turns into the official title, even when the title assigned later by a replica description is extra extensively identified. And typically, it seems that the error was additionally made on the genus degree. Then the entire genus will get modified, together with each fish in it.
Another motive for a reputation change is reclassification. When we have a look at numerous freshwater fish and saltwater fish, we will normally see apparent similarities that allow us lump them collectively into classifications. Ichthyologists and taxonomists begin there, too, however they don’t simply have a look at basic look. They depend fin rays, rows of scales, bone and tooth constructions, and extra. These days, DNA assessments might assist decide how intently associated a fish is to identified species.
So what typically occurs is that we discover species which are so comparable visually that they have been initially labeled as being in the identical genus. However, later investigation finds important anatomical variations to separate the genus into a number of genera, so the scientific title adjustments for a number of the fish within the unique group. This might be the most typical motive for a reputation change.
It will also be a case of mistaken id. Say somebody describes a species, and an exporter exports a fish that he thinks is that species, however it’s really one other fish altogether. This mislabeled fish turns into well-liked within the commerce earlier than somebody figures out that it has been the fallacious fish all alongside. So the scientific title adjustments to what it ought to have been within the first place.
There are additionally some scientific names floating round that aren’t actual. For a time, Endler’s livebearer was circulating with the unofficial scientific title of Poecilia endleri as an tribute to the person who launched it to the pastime and whose title ended up as a part of the widespread title. Then the fish was labeled and given the title of P. wingei.
Your fish was initially offered within the commerce as Pseudotropheus kennyi. I couldn’t discover out for certain, however I don’t consider that was ever a legitimate scientific title for it. “Kennyi,” nevertheless, caught for the widespread title. Pseudotropheus lombardoi was the unique scientific title, named after John Lombardo, a fish importer. Later research modified the genus of this fish, as you famous, to Metriaclima. But it doesn’t cease there. The present scientific title for kennyi at fishbase.org is Maylandia lombardoi.
The African cichlids, particularly the Rift Lake cichlids, have undergone quite a lot of reclassification. As you most likely know, there was at all times quite a lot of confusion with these fishes for numerous causes. Males and females might look fairly completely different. Your kennyi cichlid is an ideal instance, with females and juveniles striped in blue, however mature males striped in yellow. Such fish initially have been regarded as two completely different species. Other species, comparable to Tropheus moori, have a number of coloration morphs and have been regarded as a number of species.
If you’re extra interested in how scientific names are fashioned, you could need to try the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature web site on-line at iczn.org.