New habi­tat of alfredi or New type or New species?


A new habi­tat of Parosphromenus in Pahang is con­firmed. The pop­u­la­tion there might be iden­ti­fied as alfredi or a sub-​species of alfredi. Here is the story.
A tragedy of Parosphromenus is well known in recent years that, the tra­di­tional col­lect­ing loca­tion of P. alfredi in Johor was destroyed due to many rea­sons. This means that the last acces­si­ble habi­tat of this species was lost. Accord­ing to the local com­mu­nity the last wild caught spec­i­mens was dated back to 2016. How­ever, an inter­est­ing report reached us in 2018 by a breeder from Hongkong that he still kept one female of alfredi from a dif­fer­ent loca­tion. This new loca­tion is recorded by a Ger­man Explorer. He found this Parosphromenus habi­tat in Pahang many years ago. The spec­i­mens caught there were iden­ti­fied by him as alfredi at that time. This is a flame in the dark­ness. He kindly shared his loca­tion with us. In 2020, our expe­di­tion leader Shi [S.J.D. Team] headed into this area. Beside this loca­tion, a sec­ond habi­tat was kindly shared with us by two local hob­by­ists. Parosphromenus pop­u­la­tions were recorded from both habi­tats. The spec­i­mens from both loca­tions appear to be same type. These fish are typ­i­cal red mem­bers of the “har­veyi Group” with red bands on unpaired fins and a round cau­dal fin. The pelvic fin tips of these fish DO show iri­des­cent blue color, which leads to an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of alfredi by the dis­cover. How­ever, the tax­o­nom­i­cal details might be a lit­tle bit more com­pli­cated than expected. The fin rays and other char­ac­ters all fit the orig­i­nal descrip­tion of alfredi, and they can be eas­ily clas­si­fied as alfredi via the index of 2005. Yet, the most impor­tant pelvic fin tip color is not fully same as the alfredi from Johor. The blue color on pelvic fin tips of the Pahang ones is dark and not con­tin­u­ous, which is closer to rub­ri­mon­tis, instead of the con­tin­u­ous light blue/​white tips of the Johor alfredi. Nonethe­less, the fin rays of these Pahang ones don’t fit the num­bers of rub­ri­mon­tis but alfredi. Dif­fer­ent opin­ions are held towards their tax­o­nom­i­cal posi­tion. Con­sid­er­ing the fact that most of their char­ac­ters are con­sis­tent to alfredi and they do show slight dif­fer­ences to their Johor rel­a­tives, we tem­porar­ily label them as cf. alfredi Pahang. Fur­ther stud­ies are required.
These fish live in clear water. They pos­sess intense red color on fins. Rarely some spec­i­mens have slightly spade cau­dal fin like phoeni­cu­rus. They are quite attrac­tive fish. How­ever, once again, their habi­tat is threat­ened by oil-​palm plan­ta­tion. One of the habi­tats is partly dis­turbed by the nearby plan­ta­tion. We hope they might be pro­tected from the tragic fate of their Johor rel­a­tives, the orig­i­nal alfredi.
We thank SHOAL for the sup­port­ing of this survey.

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