The Cichlid Room Companion
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The Cichlid Room Companion (CRC), is a membership-based webpage dedicated to the fishes of the Cichlid family (Cichlidae). The site offers arguably the most comprehensive authoritative catalogue of cichlids in the web, which is illustrated with more than 20,000 photographs of fishes and 1,000 of habitats, as well as over 270 videos of cichlids and their habitats. It also “offers access to information about over 150 full genera and 900 full species profiles”, a discussion forum, as well as various articles about taxonomy, natural history, fish-keeping, field accounts, collecting expeditions and other cichlid related topics; mostly written by citizen scientists and people who specialize in cichlids. The species summaries provided in the form of profiles include taxonomic, distribution and habitat, conservation, natural history, captive maintenance and an extensive bibliography of the species included and have been prepared by world class specialists. A document establishes the standards followed in the preparation and maintenance of the cichlid catalogue. The site is administered by its creator and editor, Juan Miguel Artigas-Azas, a naturalist, whom is also an aquarist and a notorious nature photographer. In 2008, the American Cichlid Association (ACA) awarded Artigas-Azas the Guy Jordan Retrospective Award, which is the maximum honor that association gives to people who have done extensive contributions to the International Cichlid Hobby.
The page is most popular in the United States, with 47.3% of its users from that country. It has an Alexa World Rank #662,043 (Oct-2018) and Google Pagerank 4/10.
Contributions to public understanding of Science
In the past decade, the Internet has fundamentally transformed the relationships between the scientific community and society as a whole, as the boundaries between public and private, professionals and hobbyists fade away; allowing for a wider range of participants to engage with science in unprecedented ways. The educational and citizens science task of the CRC has been acknowledged in the formal scientific literature, both as source of data, information and awareness among fish hobbyists about topics like the threat of releases of invasive species from domestic aquaria, as well as promoting ethical behavior in the fish hobby. Furthermore, while for the most part, the CRC is a popular resource, a number of articles in it have some academic value, and have been cited as primary sources in the scholarly literature.
Biological systematics is a scientific discipline, which requires scientific training. It is often professed in the scientific community that reliable contention of scientific papers is restricted to scientific publications, that are backed up with scientific facts. "Hobby publications are non-scientific literature", and the scholarly use or discussion of names and other nomenclatural acts "dropped in hobby is entirely questionable". Hobby articles, both printed and electronic, are usually published on the approval of the editors, whereas in a scientific journal, by contrast, all articles are peer reviewed. Moreover, in the case of the CRC, the site is not edited by a person educated in systematics or with an advanced degree in ichthyology or a related field. As of January, 2015, the catalogue section in the CRC displayed a disclaimer stating that they are "not to be considered as published in the sense of the Code, and statements made therein are not made available for nomenclatural purposes". Even so, the site has been criticized for censoring taxonomic information based on its editor's arbitrary, personal, subjective views (e.g. the synonymy of Paraneetroplus and Vieja sensu McMahan et al. 2010 (prior to 2015); the validity of Maylandia Meyer & Foerster 1984 vs its junior synonym Metriaclima Stauffer, J. R., Jr. and K. A. Kellogg 2002; the split of genus Nosferatu De la Maza-Benignos, et al. 2014 from Herichthys,; or the recent review of the taxonomy and systematics of the herichthyns;), on the basis of an anticonventional argument that official, in the sense of the Code, nomenclatural acts are not “mandatory” (see editor's comments). Indeed, some of the views have been corroborated by the scientific community, as has been the case of the genus Nosferatu that that is considered junior synonym of Herichthys, while the synonymy of Vieja and Paraneetroplus was not initially accepted in 2015 in the CRC, although in 2016 it was proven that the genera are in fact not synonymous.
- Why subscribe to the Cichlid Room Companion? (2015) The Cichlid Room Companion. http://www.cichlidae.com/membership.php visited 01/19/2014
- Cichlid Room Companion, Discussion Forum, http://www.cichlidae.com/forum
- Cichlid Room Companion, Our Cichlid Catalog, https://www.cichlidae.com/site_doc.php?id=297
- Guy D. Jordan Retrospective Award, https://cichlid.org/?page_id=40
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- Kullander, Sven O. "Nomenclatural availability of putative scientific generic names applied to the South American cichlid fish Apistogramma ramirezi Myers & Harry, 1948 (Teleostei: Cichlidae). 2011. Zootaxa 3131: 35-51.
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- De La Maza-Benignos, M., & Lozano-Vilano, M. L. (2013). Description of three new species of the genus Herichthys (Perciformes: Cichlidae) from eastern Mexico, with redescription of H. labridens, H. steindachneri, and H. pantostictus. Zootaxa, 3734(2), 101-129.
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- Midgley, D. (N/D) New cichlid names. Sydney Cichlid Aquarium Pages. http://www.sydneycichlid.com/cichlid-names.htm visited on the 10 of December, 2014.
- Artigas Azas, J.M. (N/D). Curriculum. http://www.juanartigas.org/?page_id=44 visited on the 15 of December, 2014.
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- McMahan, C. D., Geheber, A. D., & Piller, K. R. (2010). Molecular systematics of the enigmatic middle American genus Vieja (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 57(3), 1293-1300.
- Eschmeyer, W. N. (ed). CATALOG OF FISHES: GENERA, SPECIES, REFERENCES. (http://research.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/fishcatmain.asp). Electronic version accessed 01-03-2015.
- De la Maza-Benignos, M., Ornelas-García, C. P., Lozano-Vilano, M.d.L., García-Ramírez, M.E. & Doadrio, I. (2015). "Phylogeographic analysis of genus Herichthys (Perciformes: Cichlidae), with descriptions of Nosferatu new genus and H. tepehua n. sp.". Hydrobiologia, 748 (1): 201–231.
- Bailly, N. (2014). Nosferatu De la Maza-Benignos, Ornelas-Garcia, Lozano-Vilanio, García-Ramírez et al., 2014. In: Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. (2014) FishBase. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=826871 on 2015-03-01
- Mcmahan, C. D., Matamoros, W. A., Piller, K. R., & Chakrabarty, P. (2015). Taxonomy and systematics of the herichthyins (Cichlidae: Tribe Heroini), with the description of eight new Middle American Genera. Zootaxa, 3999(2), 211-234.https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Prosanta_Chakrabarty/publication/280836057_Taxonomy_and_systematics_of_the_herichthyins_%28Cichlidae_Tribe_Heroini%29_with_the_description_of_eight_new_Middle_American_Genera/links/55c8a45508aebc967df8f93c.pdf
- Seriously Fish. 2015. Major Changes in New World Cichlid Taxonomy. http://www.seriouslyfish.com/major-changes-in-new-world-cichlid-taxonomy/
- Practical Fish Keeping. 2015. Huge shake-up in Cichlid taxonomy. http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=6845
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- Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus http://www.cichlidae.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=11223&p=67137&hilit=Juan#p67137
- Remarks on Benthochromis species http://www.cichlidae.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=17101&start=40
- Question on nomenclature http://www.cichlidae.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=17775
- New genus Nosferatu http://www.cichlidae.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=17504
- Mejia, Omar & F. Pérez-Miranda, Y. León-Romero, E. Soto-Galera & E. de Luna. 2015. "Morphometric variation of the Herichthys bartoni (Bean, 1892) species group (Teleostei: Cichlidae): How many species comprise H. labridens (Pellegrin, 1903)?". Neotropical Ichthyology. v. 13(n. 1), pp. 61-76
- Říčan, Oldřich & L. Piálek, K. Dragová & J. Novák. 2016. "Diversity and evolution of the Middle American cichlid fishes (Teleostei: Cichlidae) with revised classification". Vertebrate Zoology. v. 66(n. 1), pp. 1 – 102