Klassisches tweediei-Männchen des Pontian-Typs. Foto: G. Kopic

Kot­te­lat & Ng 2005

First descrip­tion: Diag­noses of six new species of Parosphromenus (Teleostei: Osphrone­mi­dae) from Malay Penin­sula and Bor­neo, with notes on other species. The Raf­fles Bul­letin of Zool­ogy 2005 Sup­ple­ment No. 13: 101113.

Char­ac­ter­is­tics: Round-​tailed licorice gourami of the bintan-​harvey type. Total length max. 4.0 cm. Fin for­mula: Dor­sal: X-​XII, 67, total 1719, anal fin: X-​XII, 1013, total 2123. Among all red-​finned licorice gouramis this is the one with the largest frac­tion of red. The typ­i­cal tweed­iei male shows strong red unpaired fins, which are bor­dered by broad black bands and white edges. The ven­tral fins are blue with long black filaments.

The body stripes are black, so are head and throat. The red areas in the dor­sal and anal fin can be replaced by a blue band, espe­cially in the front part. The dor­sal fin is usu­ally slightly pointed, but not extremely long, the cau­dal fin is rounded. The females show a less pointed dor­sal fin and gen­er­ally trans­par­ent, only slightly brown­ish coloured unpaired fins; only in aggres­sive mood do their coloura­tion pat­terns resem­ble those of the males.

P. Beyer has dis­cov­ered dur­ing repeated vis­its of today´s relict habi­tats since 2006 that the species has a sig­nif­i­cant colour vari­abil­ity, which goes far beyond the mod­er­ate vari­abil­ity, named in the first descrip­tion. In some years or sea­sons there were more “red”, in oth­ers more “blue” (=fish with a high amount of blue coloura­tion). Beyer assumes that this effect is based on chang­ing food composition.

The species has been known much longer than its rel­a­tively late first descrip­tion sug­gests. Accord­ing to M. Kot­te­lat this species was usu­ally meant when older aquar­is­tic lit­er­a­ture men­tioned P. “deiss­neri”, found in West-​Malaysia. Also the fish that W. Foer­sch received in the begin­ning of the sev­en­ties through an import com­pany in Munich and later through Diet­rich Schaller from Johore, were most likely tweed­iei. These forms, with which he car­ried out his exper­i­ments in the belief they were “deiss­neri”, had rel­a­tively large amounts of blue coloura­tion in their fins. Schaller asked the for­mer keeper of the Raf­fles Museum Sin­ga­pore, Eric Alfred, about the local­ity of the then lit­tle known “deiss­neri” and was told they were com­ing from “Ayer Hitam”. Here, he indeed found the fish, but this terra typ­ica of tweed­iei is destroyed today.

Sim­i­lar species: risk of con­fu­sion is low for the males, but prin­cip­i­aly not to be excluded for other red-​finned licorice gouramis. This is due to the fact that dif­fer­ent large blue areas may be present in the fins of tweed­iei. A good fea­ture for dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion of the males is the pres­ence of white bands occur­ing in cau­dal and dor­sal fin. The form spec. Langgam from Suma­tra is very sim­i­lar, but its fin edges are often not pure white and the cau­dal fin is pointed in the end. In the females the risk of con­fu­sion with other round-​tailed species is high, but on the other hand, dom­i­nant females can also show a less dis­tinct male-​like colouration.

Occur­rence /​Dis­tri­b­u­tion: West-​Malaysia, Johore dis­trict; in ear­lier times also fur­ther north in the dis­trict Malakka. These pop­u­la­tions do not exist any­more, due to habi­tat destruc­tion. Tweedie listed a num­ber of areas of occur­rence in West-​Malaysia in 1952 for “deiss­neri”. Many of these places were appar­ently related to the species, named after him, but most of them are destroyed today, such as the main loca­tion Ayer Hitam. In the nineties, mainly red-​finned fish have been imported from the area around Pon­tian, at this time the then unde­scribed species was named spec. Pon­tian. The fact that in far away Suma­tra a very sim­i­lar form (spec. Langgam) has been found, is most likely going back to con­ver­gent devel­op­ment. Both forms should not be species-​identical.

Threat: very high, because none of the orig­i­nally exist­ing habi­tats remained untouched by human influ­ences. The species can be found (only?) in strongly affected struc­tures (e.g. road­side chan­nels), which are still fed by relict black­wa­ter springs. If there is a cor­re­la­tion between the insta­bil­ity of these water bod­ies and the strik­ing vari­abil­ity of the coloura­tion of the fish is unclear. Beyer sug­gested the influ­ence of chang­ing food. The expe­di­tion Bussler/​Hinz in April 2011 could not find this species (as the only kind of sought species in West-​Malaysia) in places, which had been vis­ited last by Beyer .

Discovery/​First import:The fish, intro­duced by Herre to the United States in 1937 as “deiss­neri”, belonged most likely to this species, as well as the fish imported to Ger­many by Schaller in 1973. Kub­ota, Kopic and oth­ers have spread this species in the mid-​nineties.

Trade: This attrac­tive species in par­tic­u­lar has been traded very spo­rad­i­cally (as “deiss­neri”) since the sev­en­ties, when the main habi­tats were still intact, mainly as a by-​catch. Today this is rarely the case, and it has been seen no longer in recent years. This is clearly due to the sig­nif­i­cant decline of the stock in the still pop­u­lated relict habitats.

Care /​Breed­ing: not dif­fer­ent from other licorice gouramis. Since the clas­sic descrip­tion of Foer­sch from 1974 (“Notes on care and breed­ing of Parosphromenus deiss­neri”), is related to this species and the basic knowl­edge about Parosphromenus care and breed­ing goes back to this pub­li­ca­tion, P.tweediei is the species for which the most thor­oughly researched expe­ri­ence is avail­able. At the partly destroyed fish­ing grounds in Pon­tian, val­ues of pH 4.0 were mea­sured. The fish have been caught in depths of 1.0 to 1.5 meter in dense under­wa­ter veg­e­ta­tion (Kot­te­lat & Ng 2005:107). Strong ani­mals can pro­duce large clutches (50 to 80 eggs).

Behav­iour /​Par­tic­u­lar­i­ties: Head-​down or hor­i­zon­tally courtship. Dom­i­nant females can take on a male-​like coloura­tion in the absence of males, espe­cially in small groups. The species is one of the most attrac­tive and sought after in the aquar­ium, how­ever, it requires a strict obser­vance of the prin­ci­ples of Licorice gouramii aquatics.

PF

Parosphromenus tweed­iei (loca­tion Kampung Sri Bun­ian) — Pic­tures of male and female, their newly hatched lar­vae and the grown up fry — by

Parosphromenus tweed­iei (Ruine­mans 2013)

Parosphromenus tweed­iei ‘Sri Burinan’

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