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Botia colouration and markings...........discuss.

Posted By: Martin Thoene <martin.thoene@lakenheath.af.mil>
Date: Monday, 15 March 1999, at 7:37 p.m.

In the past few months we've regularly seen posts about Clown colouration, Yoyo markings, etc, etc. this has made me take greater notice every time that I see a species of Botia in a LFS.

A tankful of Yoyos will, I've noticed, contain fish with markings varying from perfect Y's & O's, Y's and I's, network patterning, hazy undefined markings, and strong markings against white/silver background.All these are in fish of the same size, so I feel that age does not necessarily dictate which markings this species has.

I've seen great variation in stripe patterning in dario within a tank containing many of the same size too.

Other species, however seem to look pretty much the same within a given tankload. Skunks that I've seen are usually all with side-barring, all without it, all with red fins, or all with clear fins, or sometimes a combination of fin colour with barring, or fin colouring without barring. Granted, some of this variation might be down to individual tank parameters affecting the fish.

With Clowns, we know that they change colouring with mood, pecking order, etc. I've read that there are 2 distinct regional varieties, one colourful, one less so that grows eventually bigger, although that was only from one source, so I don't know if that is true. I have certainly seen Clowns with paler main body colour and little red in the fins, and they have looked the same on several viewings. My Clowns came from 2 sources, several months apart, and although they are all approximately the same size, the 2 last additions have always slightly had the edge colourwise on the other 4. They ALL have a black area within the pelvic fins, but I've just seen several tanks of Clowns at different shops, and at different sizes that have pure red pelvic fins with no hint of black.

SOoooo......I start speculating that assuming fish are being collected at different locations, maybe what I'm witnessing is LOCAL VARIETIES of Clown and possibly Skunk, such as one gets in Lake Malawi Cichlid species that are effectively isolated to a small area by their dependancy on rock formations as habitat (i.e., they don't migrate across areas of open sand). This leads to localised in-breeding that fixes certain characteristics of that local poulation. Malawis are sold often by species name with a suffix that identifies the island or bay in which they were collected, and can be strikingly different in colouration to the fish a mile down the lake from there. I realise that there's NO WAY that exporters are going to ID the collection areas for Clowns because they're pretty much guarded with that info anyway, but it would be nice to know where the most colourful fish come from.

Has anyone noticed the pelvic fin colouration thing? Do your's have red fins or have a black area in the base centre?


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