Descrip­tion of the 20 known species

The species cur­rently known to science

P.ornaticauda (photo H.Linke)

Today the bio­log­i­cal sci­ence knows 18 species, which have been recog­nised through pub­lished first descrip­tions, but many more forms are known, whose sta­tus remains com­pletely unclear.

One rea­son for this is that the sci­en­tific dis­cus­sion about the con­cept of species is much more com­plex today. It dif­fers from the ear­lier con­cept which is based on the clas­si­cal tax­on­omy. For exam­ple today it is widely accepted that the con­tin­u­ous progress of evo­lu­tion ensures that spe­ci­a­tion is ongo­ing every­where. Thus the exis­tence of many tran­si­tion stages is pos­si­ble, or even is the norm. The term “semi­species” is thus well estab­lished in mod­ern biol­ogy. But in some areas of zool­ogy, includ­ing the ichthy­ol­ogy, lit­tle use is made of this con­cept up to now. Even the more tra­di­tional con­cept of a sub­species is rarely used. Any­way wher­ever hob­by­ists fol­low , there will be a sig­nif­i­cant gap to cutting-​edge research.

P.nagyi cherating form (photo M. Hallmann)

As the pre­vi­ous descrip­tions of the licorice gouramis are based exclu­sively on tra­di­tional, phenotype-​related work­ing meth­ods, which nei­ther con­sider genetic char­ac­ter­is­tics nor fish behav­iour, it is unclear if these described 18 species will remain valid or if they have to with­stand a sub­se­quent revi­sion of the genus. Both is pos­si­ble: some of the known species might have to be down­graded to sub­species, while some of the recently dis­cov­ered local forms might receive this sta­tus or even the sta­tus of a new species.

Today we know the fol­low­ing species: alfredi, allani, anjun­ga­nen­sis, bin­tan, deiss­neri, fil­a­men­to­sus, har­veyi, linkei, nagyi, opal­lios, ornat­i­cauda, pahuen­sis, palu­di­cola, parvu­lus, quin­decim, rub­ri­mon­tis, suma­tranus and tweed­iei.

Because of the uncer­tain rela­tion­ships and for the ease of access, in the fol­low­ing dis­cus­sion we arrange today’s accepted species in alpha­bet­i­cal order. This is based on the name of the fish (of course other cri­te­ria can be used; you can be informed about this if you click on the link ”other meth­ods of arrangement”).

Each of the species will be intro­duced here at least with one pic­ture. Links to other pic­tures in the inter­net are pro­vided as well. For all species we give brief infor­ma­tion about their local­i­ties, their nat­ural dis­tri­b­u­tion, the most impor­tant exter­nal (colour and struc­ture) fea­tures for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, sex­ual dimor­phism and species-​typical behav­iour. Fur­ther infor­ma­tion will be pro­vided as needed. The source of the first descrip­tion will be given as well as a selec­tion of impor­tant spe­cialised literature.

(PF)

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