Other forms

Sci­ence can not fol­low: fur­ther already known forms

The licorice gouramis, shown on this web­site as ”species”, are only those described and known to sci­ence. There are many more Parosphromenus vari­ants, although it is not clear in many of these cases whether they are just newly-​discovered local vari­ants of an already described species, a sub-​species or even a new sep­a­rate species. It is how­ever almost impos­si­ble to fol­low how many more, un-​described species are known today. Because of the prob­lem­atic acces­si­bil­ity of many loca­tions, where only few roads exist, it is likely that we can addi­tion­ally expect the exis­tence of fur­ther com­pletely unknown forms or even species. But it is also likely that due to the lim­ited dis­tri­b­u­tion of some forms, a few of them might already have dis­ap­peared as a result of for­est destruc­tion, before we ever come to know them.

For the many forms with unclear sci­en­tific sta­tus, shown here, we have to con­sider that sev­eral com­mon nota­tions exist and that they are unfor­tu­nately often mixed. For exam­ple there are licorice gouramis which have been described as more or less “sim­i­lar” to another species. Here we can find two types of nota­tion, abbre­vi­ated with “aff” (from latin affi­nis: akin to) and “cf” (from latin to be com­pared with). “P. spec. aff. x” has then the mean­ing that the form is so sim­i­lar to the species “x” to which it is assumed they are closely related, although it is not def­i­nitely known if this is the case or if they are in fact iden­ti­cal. “P. spec. cf. y” means that the form resem­bles y, but it is unclear if this is due to close rela­tion­ship or if this is even­tu­ally based on con­ver­gence (inde­pen­dent devel­op­ment to a sim­i­lar final appear­ance). It can also mean that it is com­pletely unclear how to clas­sify the form at all. Already the abbre­vi­a­tions “aff.” and “cf.” are unfor­tu­nately often confused.

„P. spec. Sematan (Foto: H. Badaruddin)“.

Unde­scribed licorice gouramis with a clear local­ity assign­ment, are often named after this (first) site (P. spec. local­ity). This may be a set­tle­ment nearby, a river, an admin­is­tra­tive dis­trict or even a part of the coun­try. Accord­ingly, this name is more or less accu­rate. Occa­sion­ally fur­ther local­i­ties are added for the same form. This is why two iden­ti­cal forms can be known by dif­fer­ent local­ity names, although it is the same fish. This will remain unclear as long as no genetic infor­ma­tion about them is available.

Exam­ples for this com­mon, but unequally accu­rate way of labelling fish are forms like spec. Jambi, spec. Langgam, spec. Lundu, spec. Palan­gan, spec. Sen­tang oder spec. Sun­gai Bertam. (Many of the today recog­nised species with sci­en­tific names had these pro­vi­sional names until they were described, e.g. spec. Suka­mara for P. opal­lios. If this was the case, these now obso­lete names will still be men­tioned in order to state their identity).

Besides the forms, which were char­ac­terised by their local­ity, (many of them dis­cov­ered and imported by enthu­si­asts), sev­eral more exist, which appeared in trade and which have received fancy names, reveal­ing noth­ing about their ori­gin. Here we have to assume that local fish­er­men work­ing for orna­men­tal fish export com­pa­nies explore and exploit rich fish­ing areas. This explains the notice­able sea­sonal accu­mu­la­tion of such offers. It hap­pens that such a form will then be lost again for years. This includes:

spec. “Blue Line “, spec. “Red Line “.

Very rarely exporters use, with­out any legit­i­ma­tion, latinised names as well, resem­bling real sci­en­tific names. With­out for­mal descrip­tion and pub­li­ca­tion these names are not valid. One exam­ple is:

sin­tan­gen­sis” (see above, for the still unde­ter­mined spec. Sen­tang, s.a.)

Finally there is a third way of labelling un-​described forms. This hap­pens in con­nec­tion to imports, which are car­ried out by some par­tic­u­larly active importers of orna­men­tal fish, espe­cially in Europe. If the local­ity of ori­gin is unknown, but the fish appears to be sim­i­lar to already known forms, country-​specific names are assigned, often by enthu­si­asts who need a label for oth­er­wise unla­beled or mis-​labelled fish. The same fish, which was imported in one coun­try by a local com­pany and has received a respec­tive enthu­si­asts’ label, might receive a com­pletely dif­fer­ent name in another coun­try on the basis of another import process. The list of sci­en­tif­i­cally un-​described forms is thus very vul­ner­a­ble to the imple­men­ta­tion of mul­ti­ple name assign­ments. In many cases this con­fu­sion has never been solved, because the small import pop­u­la­tions often dis­ap­peared quickly. One exam­ple in Ger­many is the alfredi–like form, which was imported in 1998 by the com­pany Mimbon-​Aquaristik and which was at times spawned and dis­trib­uted heav­ily.. spec. aff. alfredi “Mim­bon 98″,

P.spec. Liang-liang (Photo A.Waser)

After all, there are still names in one or another lan­guage, which have been used by the dis­cov­er­ers of a form with respect to a sig­nif­i­cant event that has “only” a spe­cial mean­ing for them. Often this name was used in fur­ther pub­li­ca­tions, together with the more accu­rate site descrip­tion. This hap­pened to the “Honeymoon-​Licorice Gourami”, which was new to the dis­cov­er­ers of P. pahuen­sis at this time (today´s species name, before named after the local­i­ties spec. Jan­tur Ger­meruh or spec. Melak), because one of them had his “hon­ey­moon” then. Such enthusiast´s names are of course com­pletely sub­jec­tive and have no sci­en­tific mean­ing at all.

On the right hand side you will find again a ver­ti­cal col­umn in alpha­betic order with these names; the pre­fix “species” (spec.) we omit. For the rea­sons already men­tioned, it is not pos­si­ble to pro­vide a list of all un-​described forms. We restrict the list mainly for those, where at least some infor­ma­tion is avail­able. By click­ing on a name (which is recog­nis­able as a link by colour accen­tu­a­tion), a sheet will open, con­tain­ing fur­ther details – often only a few. Names, which are not high­lighted, are not linked (yet). Please con­sider: this list and the infor­ma­tion given on the indi­vid­ual sheets are often less com­plete as it is the case for the well known species, due to the lim­i­ta­tion of avail­able infor­ma­tion. Fur­ther­more they are sub­ject to fast changes. Pic­tures are avail­able in even fewer cases.


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