Titicaca orestias

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Titicaca orestias
LakeTiticacaOrestia-1835.gif
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family: Cyprinodontidae
Genus: Orestias
Species: O. cuvieri
Binomial name
Orestias cuvieri
Valenciennes, 1846
Synonyms

Orestias humboldi[2]

The Titicaca orestias (Orestias cuvieri), also known by its native name amanto, is a likely extinct freshwater killifish from Lake Titicaca in South America. It belongs in the pupfish genus Orestias, endemic to Altiplano lakes in the Andes. With a body length of 27 cm (11 in), it was the largest member in that genus. In the hope that an undiscovered population remains, it is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN. Despite its common name, it is not the only Orestias from Lake Titicaca.

Its mouth was nearly turned upwards and therefore the flat head had a dished shape. The head took nearly a third of the whole body length. The upperside was greenish-yellow to umber. The lower jaw was black. Its scales were oddly light coloured at their centre. The scales of the young were blotched.

The Titicaca orestias became extinct due to competition by introduced trout like the lake trout, brown trout, or the rainbow trout as well as silversides (Atherinopsidae) from the 1930s to the 1950s. A survey in 1962 failed to find any Titicaca orestias.

History[edit]

Orestias cuvieri is a species of killfish that belongs in the genus Orestias. Other related species of Orestias live in the region, forming a species flock.[3] This species is thought to be as old as five million years[citation needed] and to have lived in Lake Titicaca until it became extinct.

Anatomy[edit]

The Titicaca orestias was characterized by a unique pattern of pores on the head. Large thick scales lined the median dorsal ridge and thinner smaller scales surrounded the ridge. Between these two areas of skin were patches with no scales. Unlike most other species of Orestias, the scales of the adult O. cuvieri were granulated.[4] The concave dish shape of its body and jaw further helped distinguish O. cuvieri from other species of Orestias. The anatomy of O. cuvieri closely resembled a species of trout which is now found in Lake Titicaca, a similarity which has led many researchers to hypothesize that competition between the two groups was the reason for the extinction of O. cuvieri.[4]

Size[edit]

Each species of Orestias has varying size. The Titicaca orestias was the largest species in the genus.[5] The maximum recorded length is 27 cm (11 in), which is considerably larger than most other species.[6]

Coloration and markings[edit]

With regard to the coloration of the amanto during their lifetime, specimens present black melanophores laterally as a band on the lateral line and as small groups on the upper lateral sides. Small melanophores cover the fins giving them a grayish color. The grayish color fades to white on the dorsum and belly; juvenile pigmentation pattern persists with little modification in adult males and females.[5] This information shows that the color of the Orestias in question depends on what part of the body is being considered.

Life history[edit]

Reproduction[edit]

Species of Orestias display sexual dimorphism at maturity. The males were usually smaller than the females and became more orange in color when they were spawning. During their reproductive stage, the females laid somewhere between 50 to 400 eggs, each of which had a yellowish filament about 2.5 mm in diameter. As an adaptation to solar radiation, the eggs developed a black protective coat, derived from melanophores, around the embryo sac.[5]

Ecology[edit]

Range and habitat[edit]

The freshwater fish belonging to the genus Orestias are found in high-altitude isolated lakes in the Altiplano region of South America, ranging from Peru to Chile. Lake Titicaca, which is on the border of Peru and Bolivia, contains a wide variety of Orestias fish.[7] This large lake was once the home to Orestias cuvieri before their extinction.

Population, trends and predation[edit]

At one time, there were as many as 30 native fish species in Lake Titicaca, of which 28 species belonged to the genus Orestias. In the middle of the 20th century, there were many attempts to introduce exotic species to the lake. Two of these introductions were successful: rainbow trout introduced in 1942 and silverside (Odontesthes bonariensis) in the early 1950s. The success of the silverside meant the decline of the Titicaca orestias, since the larger silversides were observed to eat them. As long as the silverside continued to flourish, it meant difficult times for the amanto. Fifty years ago, there was no sign of Orestias cuvieri in Lake Titicaca and the species was presumed to be extinct.

Feeding[edit]

The main food source for the genus Orestia is zooplankton, specifically Boeckella titicacae and Daphnia pulex.[8] Unfortunately, zooplankton is also a food source for the silverside, creating competition for food between predator and prey. Adults of O. cuvieri also ate other smaller fish.[5]

Human interaction[edit]

Since the Miocene era, species of Orestias have lived in relative isolation. Most of the aquatic regions in the Altiplano region are endorheic, meaning that they are closed off from drainage and do not let any water out.[9] Thus, species of Orestias have been confined to their respective basins. Each group of fish is specifically adapted to the unique basin in which it lives and any alteration to the dynamics of the body of water would greatly impact the fish. Human introduction of foreign fishes to the Altiplano basins predictably had negative consequences. The alien species created competition and preyed upon Orestias cuvieri, eventually leading to its extinction.[8]

Pollutants contaminate the water and traces of metals, such as zinc and copper, have been found in the tissues of fishes. In addition, runoff from fertilizers and pesticides used in agricultural lands has been extremely toxic to the fish. The water from the Altiplano region is also in high demand. People have constantly been taking water out of the basins and depleting the Orestias' habitats.[8] The compilation of the effects of human actions have harmfully affected the health and survival of different species of Orestias, in particular the species O. cuvieri. Thus, the extinction of the Titicaca orestias is largely anthropogenic.

Conservation[edit]

Consumption[edit]

One effective way in which the full extinction of this genus can be prevented is through a curb in consumption. In his book Fish Conservation: A Guide to Understanding and Restoring Global Aquatic Biodiversity and Fishery Resources, Gene Helfman examines fish as a vital source of food and protein for billions of people around the world[10] He goes on to further touch on the Sustainable Seafood Consumption movement. Moreover, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization[11] we can clearly see how our consumption must be adjusted significantly. In assessing the world's total food supply (of fish and fishery products) the world consumed 125,344,414 tons of fish or fish products in 2009.[11]

Law enforcement[edit]

With regard to law enforcement, major efforts are still needed to prevent pollution and illegal fishing. These efforts need to be made specifically on the area, between Peru and Bolivia, of Lake Titicaca. In this area there has already been various extinct Orestias (such as the humanto or amanto, O cuvieri, and boga, O. pentlandii). Other native species, including the suche (Trichomycterus rivulatus), yellow karachi, O. albus, and ispi, O. ispi, are currently endangered, as a result of overfishing, predation by introduced species, and the impacts of intensive production in trout farms.[12] This idea of law enforcement is particularly challenging because of the immense body of water that would need patrolling. Actions to be on the lookout for by law enforcement should include long casting; where a long line (over 100 kilometers in some instances) is cast and other unintended fish are caught. Perhaps more importantly though is to be on the lookout, as an entity of law enforcement for pollution.

Museum specimens[edit]

The National Museum of Natural History in the Netherlands, Naturalis, has several specimens. Two of these specimens were donated by the Zoological Museum at Heidelberg University in 1877 and one in 1880 from the Smithsonian Institution. In addition, four specimens, labeled "Orestias humboldi" were donated by the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in France.[2]

Related species[edit]

Scientists have determined that there are 43 species of the genus Orestias. These species were divided into four groups by the American ichthyologist Lynne R. Parenti in 1984. In 2003, Arne Lüssen researched the phylogeny, including the mtDNA sequence data of many species. The Lake Titicaca orestias, O. culvieri, is a member of the cuvieri species complex, which also includes O. forgeti, O. ispi and O. pentlandii.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ NatureServe (2016). "Orestias cuvieri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c http://www.petermaas.nl/extinct/speciesinfo/amanto.htm
  3. ^ Parenti, L. (1984). A taxonomic revision of the Andean Killifish genus Orestias (Cyprinodontiformes, Cyprinodontidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 107–214.
  4. ^ a b Parenti, L. (1984). A taxonomic revision of the Andean Killifish genus Orestias (Cyprinodontiformes, Cyprinodontidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 107–214.
  5. ^ a b c d Vila, Irma, Rodrigo Pardo, and Sergio Scott. "Freshwater fishes of the Altiplano." Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 10.2 (2007): 201-211. Print.
  6. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2017). "Orestias cuvieri" in FishBase. February 2017 version.
  7. ^ Fernando, Jara. Palma, Rodrigo, Palma, and Soto, Doris. "Reproduction in Captivity of the Endangered Killifish Orestias ascotanensis (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae)." American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists 1995.1 (1995): 226-228. Print.
  8. ^ a b c Anderson, Elizabeth P., and Javier, A. Maldonado-Ocampo. "A Regional Perspective On The Diversity And Conservation Of Tropical Andean Fishes." Conservation Biology 25.1 (2011): 30-39. Print.
  9. ^ Fernando, Jara. Palma, Rodrigo, Palma, and Soto, Doris. "Reproduction in Captivity of the Endangered Killifish Orestias ascotanensis (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae)." American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists 1995.1 (1995): 226-228. Print.
  10. ^ Helfman, S., Gene. Fish Conservation: A Guide to Understanding and Restoring Global Aquatic Biodiversity and Fishery Resources. Island Press. 2007.
  11. ^ a b ftp://ftp.fao.org/FI/STAT/summary/FBS_bycontinent.pdf
  12. ^ Chavez, Franz. 2011. Major Efforts Still Needed to Clean Up Lake Titicaca. News International. Global Reach Press.