members of bluejax.
co.uk over the last year,
we managed to make some good headway
in understanding the electric blue Jack
Dempsey (EBJD). I was fascinated with,
and focused on, the confusing debate
over whether this fish had hybrid or
color-morph origins. There were so many
conflicting stories brought to the table
over the years that I found very little was
actually concrete and factual information.
Constructing this site helped us pull
information together so all of us would
have a better understanding of these fish.
Arduous conversations were had with
many EBJD owners, breeders, as well as lab
technicians, university professors, and the
like over the phone and via email. When
it came down to it, it was pretty clear that
DNA testing was the only route to attain
the truth. Through our investigations, we
were able to locate a copy of a DNA test
that had already been performed. Jeff Rapps
of tangledupincichlids.com apparently
commissioned a test back in August 2005,
and he supplied a copy of this test to
Martin Brammah (owner of the bluejax
EBJD forum). Martin found that these test
results excluded the nuclear sequences, and
it seemed as though only the mitochondrial
line was sampled. This meant that while it
showed a match to Rocio octofasciata, it did
so only in the maternal lineage.
Through further investigation of potential
laboratories to run new tests, I stumbled
upon Dr. Prosanta Chakrabarty and sent
him a copy of these results to see if similar
work could be done. Ironically enough, Dr.
Chakrabarty admitted that it was he who
ran the DNA tests commissioned by Jeff
Rapps. He went on to say that he indeed did
run the nuclear DNA tests and reassured
me they were also a complete match to R.
octofasciata. After taking a second look at
the original results, I found that he did run
more tests and noted that he left them out
because they were part of his PhD thesis.
It was decided we needed to be proactive
and seek out a DNA test of our own
through a separate laboratory, and we did
so through Dr. David Price of fishdnaid.
com. Money was pulled together from
different members of the group, and in less
than a week we raised enough to complete
DNA testing is being used to decide whether the electric blues are hybrids or color morphs of
The author submitted fin clippings from his own fish for DNA tests.
Dr. Price was very precise and expedient
with his work, oftentimes communicating
with me via email at 3 or 4 in the morning
from the lab. I could tell, when speaking
with Dr. Price, that he had a real sense of
curiosity about this species and the dilemma
behind its origins. This genuinely seemed
to be something he had never encountered,
and something that was somewhat difficult
for him to understand. He was reluctant at
first to be a part of this project, but after a
few long, detailed conversations with him,
he finally obliged and asked for me to send
That very same night, I got the supplies
and went ahead with taking the samples.
I took four fin clippings in all from four
different fish. I took one clipping from
Tropical Fish Hobbyist www.tfhmagazine.com