From the Editor
Cryptobiology, or cryptozoology, is the study of hidden or undiscovered animals, or cryptids—animals that people have claimed to observe but that have never been verified by scientists. This typically means things like yeti,
mokele-mbembe, or Nessie—creatures whose legends far outstrip any
evidence of their actual being. In fact, little or no scientific evidence
of these species exists. The discovery of a living coelacanth (a fish
previously known only through fossils) in 1938 and of a second
species in 1997 reminds us, however, that a species can survive quite
well without the blessing of being described by science. While not
cryptids themselves, these two fish have understandably bolstered
the fervor of many crypto-seekers. But zeal does not equal evidence.
Few scientists expect confirmation of the existence of these
cryptids, but it is extremely common to find new species and genera
of invertebrates and fish. You don’t have to trawl the Mariana Trench to find new fish species, as
almost any trip to previously uncollected waterways yields new species, whether in the Americas,
Africa, or Asia. In some cases the majority of species taken are undescribed, and even well-studied
groups can provide surprises. Consider the discovery in recent years of a mouthbrooding apisto and
a mouthbrooding severum, with the former having just been described, as discussed in this month’s
“Cichlidophiles” (p. 34). In fact, as I look over this month’s lineup, I am struck by how prevalent
new discoveries are in this hobby!
Heiko Bleher provides the history of the discoveries of three neon tetra species (p. 74), and part
two of this feature will cover the fourth and newest neon. A couple of the fishes covered in Stan
Sung’s “Import Report” (p. 50) are fairly new, with one yet undescribed. Mike Hellweg discusses
a cichlid that’s been in the hobby a long time but has recently undergone taxonomic revision
(p. 88). In his exploration account, Michael Lo tells about encountering specimens of the genus
Paedocypris, fish that a couple of years ago wrested the title of smallest vertebrate on the planet
from the marine goby that had held it (p. 80). Two species were described in 2006, and apparently
there is a third species yet to be described. Also described in 2006 is a new Geophagus species,
and Radek Bednarczuk gives us a spawning account of this fish (p. 84). Finally, in this month’s
“Catfish Corner,” Lee Finley reviews the 2008 meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists
and Herpetologists, which includes taxonomic revisions and new species (p. 46).
This lineup isn’t coincidental. Month after month, we bring you the latest news and updates.
When newly discovered fish enter the hobby, we follow them, bringing you husbandry information
and first spawning accounts. As taxonomists sift through the ever-growing pile of new data, we
bring you the latest findings and explain the often-confusing changes in taxonomies. At the same
time, we don’t neglect old favorites, and many pages are devoted to them each month. We also keep
you up to date regarding new ideas and the evolution of husbandry techniques, as in Kieron Dodd’s
innovative look at reef janitors (p. 106). And of course, we start off our feature articles every month
with another lesson from one of the greatest innovators in the hobby: Takashi Amano (p. 70).
So, what’s new? TFH is, of course—each and every month! As we begin our 57th year with
this issue, we reaffirm our commitment to our readers and to the hobby. Anything new, unusual,
interesting, or otherwise significant, you’ll find it all here!
Tropical Fish Hobbyist