|Re: Endler's livebearer article|
Subject: Re: Endler's livebearer article
by Chromedome on 2011/12/7 14:11:05
I expected that kind of reaction, I see it all the time from the Endler's keepers. However, you did not have the full context of the situation. Your article gave the impression that ichthyologists considered it as a new species from the beginning. This is the exact opposite of the truth, and this fact was well known at the time. How it has disappeared from the record is beyond my knowledge.
In the late 90s, we had exactly one population of Endler's. We did not know precisely where in Venezuela they had been found. No serious ichthyologist at the time considered them to be anything other than a population of Poecilia reticulata. It wasn't until someone went and collected more fish, and more populations, that anyone with a scientific background considered that possibility. Even then, old school ichthyologists did not believe the differences were sufficient to describe it as a new species. Bear in mind, DNA was still not in wide use at that time.
The debate at the beginning was between aquarists, who saw behavioral and appearance differences, and ichthyologists, who could not find significant measurable distinctions. The description of Poecilia wingei did not resolve the issue, as the characters they used were still considered insufficient by many ichthyologists. Since then at least one DNA analysis, which also was used to describe yet a third species of Guppy, also showed definite distinctions between Trinidad Guppies and Cumana Guppies. But the debate continues, as many old school ichthyologists don't believe that DNA is usable at the level of species distinction.
If you read the previous carefully, you will see that I have not declared whether or not I believe P. wingei is a valid species. That's because I don't consider the matter to be fully resolved at this time. It may never be, and I really don't care enough to obsess over that part of it. But I do care that the history be correctly preserved. It is an important part of the perpetual debate between lumpers and splitters.