There are many misidentifications within the fish keeping hobby and within the Discus fish world this can also be too common. In this short article I will try to eliminate some of the common names erroneously bestowed upon these poor souls.
The first name which I want to help hobbyists correctly identify belongs to the wild Symphysodon haraldi (discus fish) of the Alenquer region in Brazil commonly (but incorrectly) known as the “Curipera” or sometimes even “Curipeua”. Traditionally, wild discus fish which reach the hobby are not only named by their taxonomic identities (e.g. genus & species) as even one species can inhabitat vast areas and be incredibly diverse, but they can be further classified by identifying the specific river or lake which their habitats are linked to. In this case, the Discus fish of the Lago Cuipeuá are identified as such because their biotopes are found in and around the Cuipeuá Lake – 1°51’22.6″S 54°54’03.1″W
Lago Cuipeuá Discus Fish Biotope by customer N. Rezeq (Greece) | Photo: N. Baviolis
The next to be correctly identified is the discus fish hamartianly named as coming from “Barra Mansa”. Barra Mansa, as also highlighted in Bleher’s Discus Volume 1, is a village along the Rio Curuá, no discus fish are found in that area however, in the bays of the lower Curuá, discus biotopes exist and host some very beautiful variants.
Rio Curuá Discus Biotope created by customer P. Kotsiropoulos | Photo N. Baviolis
Another often misidentified discus fish is one which actually bares some resemblance to the variants it is falsely named as. But independently they all deserve to have their correct identities revealed, especially as it will help the collecting hobbyists. The discus of the Xingú region really are something special (I write from a moderately biased view, as readers of my personal blogs will know), but even one taxonomic publication identified these fish as a species of their own within the Symphysodon genus based on some unique genetic loci (although, personally I’m not so sure). One of the amazing characteristics of this S. haraldi variant is their lack of pigmented patterning and extreme golden colour (in exceptional individuals). They are popularly known as the most yellow / golden of all of the wild discus forms and said to be among those with the best round body shapes. Now to get to the point, sadly many other patternless brown and golden (also of the brown clade) discus are being named from Rio Xingú region when in fact they often come from areas such as Cametá, along the Rio Tocantins, Santarem & the Rio Tapajos and another beautiful golden variant is that of the Rio Arapiuns. Each are unique and deserve independent respect.
Xingú Discus Cametá Discus Arapiuns Discus
To be continued…
Photography: © N.Baviolis © N. Hivatal © Rare Aquatics © H&K Discus