in my local club had collected in this
same general area, I see there is a lot
of variation within the known species
when moving from place to place, even
on the same stream system. There is so
much potential variation that the killie
hobbyists have now added another level
to their identification system. In addition
to species and subspecies, they have also
added collection location data. It makes for
a long name and drives our society’s BAP
(Breeders Award Program) chairman crazy,
but it does make sense in trying to keep
the numerous locality variants separate.
Finally, there is the possibility that this
is either a naturally occurring locality-variant hybrid, or even a man-made hybrid.
I’m not suggesting any nefarious intent
here, just the possibility that an exporter,
while awaiting export, had leftovers from
one collection of P. taeniatus mixed with
another and waited long enough that a pair
formed and spawned. It could also be that
the collector gathered up fish from several
streams and packed them all together. Once
in captivity, they would be forced to spawn
with whatever mate was available. But if
any of these scenarios happened, I would
think we’d expect to find some variation
in the F1 and later fry. So far, we’re on
the F3 and F4 generations, and there is no
variation that I’ve yet seen from the original
correct location to protect his collecting
area. This has happened many times in
the past, all around the world. While it is
annoying to those of us in the hobby, it
makes economic sense to the collector that
needs to make a living.
Second, there is the possibility that the
collector was mistaken about exactly where
they were found and merely named them
according to the town where he based
his collection activities. The entire area
we’re talking about here is very small—
with the hilly terrain and unmarked and
unpaved logging roads, it is possible that
the collector went into the field to collect
the fish and wound up collecting farther
south than he thought he was, and actually
collected from a stream feeding into the
Nyé’été or Lobé River. Without a GPS
system and a detailed topographical map,
this would be completely understandable. I
would not expect a native fish collector in
Cameroon or anywhere else to have either
of these things.
Third, there is the possibility that this
population is actually found exactly where
the collector says they were found, in the
area around Bandéwouri, and we don’t
know as much as we think we do about
the distribution and color patterns of
wild Pelvicachromis taeniatus in the area.
After looking at the killies that the guys
Tropical Fish Hobbyist www.tfhmagazine.com
The happy family: the author’s Pelvicachromis taeniatus “Bandéwouri,” male and female with fry.
adults, so this hybrid theory is unlikely—
but it remains a possibility.
So for the time being, we are left with
the Bandéwouri conundrum. Exactly what
are these colorful Pelvicachromis taeniatus
variants and where are they from? Only
time will tell, but in the meantime, we
can enjoy a real beauty. If you come across
them—regardless of any arguments you
may have read on the Internet concerning
their place of origin—I recommend you get
some. You won’t be disappointed.
“Pays et Villes du Monde. Yaoundé,
Cameroun.” Cameroun Carte Routière
(Cameroon Road Map).
“Global Forest Watch.”
Lamboj, A. 2004. The Cichlid Fishes of
Western Africa. Birgit Schmettkamp
Verlag, Bornheim, Germany. pp. 186–
Linke, H., and Dr. W. Staeck. 1994. African
Cichlids I, Cichlids from West Africa. Tetra-Press. Melle, Germany. pp. 152–176.
Heller, J. pers. comm. re. Sud Cameroonian
Judy, T. “Mr. Pelvicachromis.” pers. comm.
re. P. taeniatus. D