Austrolebias litzi, Costa, 2006

History

Austrolebias litzi was described within the overall revision of the genus Austrolebias by the Brazilian scientist W. Costa in 2006.

The species was named in honor of the German fish hobbyist and killifish- collector Thomas Litz for his enthusiasm and efforts in collecting Austrolebias material.

The holotype- and part of the paratypes of Austrolebias litzi were collected about 2,5 km of arroio Arenal, about 12 km from Santa Maria, road BR-392, upper rio Jacui drainage, laguna dos Patos system, Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil. Collectors of that material were W.J.E.M. Costa and A.C. Bacellar on 31 August 1999. The species was collected before at the floodplains of rio Vacacai, 6 km NW of Vila Block, road BR-392 by W. Costa, D. Belote and R. D'Arrigo. The largest sample that was examined was 38,2 mm long.

Austrolebias litzi is similar to A. cyaneus and distinguished by all other species of the A. alexandri species group in having small round spots on flanks in females which is not seen in other congeners till the moment of description in 2006. It is distinguished from A. cyaneus by possessing flanks bluish gray, having 12 - 22 vertical rows of bright bleu dots. The species also show, besides some smaller osteological features, bright dots on un-paired fins in males restricted to basal half of the fins (vs. bright spots on whole fins in A. cyaneus).

Austrolebias litzi - male. Rio Arenal. Image made and donated by Dieter Oberle, Germany
Austrolebias litzi - male. Image made by J.W. Hoetmer, The Netherlands.

Coloration:

In males the sides of the body are bluish gray, showing 8 to 15 rows of bright bleu dots of which the ones on the anterior part of the body form narrow vertical lines. Iris of the eye is yellow with bleu border. Unpaired fins are dark gray and show two irregular rows of bright bleu dots on basal half of the fins. Paired fins bright bleu.

Females have body that is yellowish brown with small dark gray spots, always smaller than eye. More to the caudal peduncle these spots can get darker or even black in some occacions. Iris light yellow with gray bar thru the center. Unpaired fins hyaline with dark spots on baseal portion, paired fins hyaline.


Reproduction

To breed most Austrolebias you need a tank that has about 10 to 25 litre water in it, a small jar or plastic container of about 10 to 15 cm high , a little bit of well boiled peatmoss or coco-peat and a watertemperature between 18 and 24 C. It is wise to add an small filter to that tank and change water on a regularly weekly basis for 90 %. Bring 1 male and, if possible, 2 or more females in the tank and feed the fishes daily with life food like daphnia, red- and black mosquito larvae and white worms. Austrolebias does not accept dry food easily and also heart is not taken if other live food is offered. If possible breed this genus in bigger tanks with more than one pair or trio and give some hiding places if you do so. In case of breeding with more than one male you also should provide more than one spawning container. Every male must have one and you will see they show nice territorial behaviour to attract females into there own spawning place.

The male flinders around the female, displaying his fins high- up with most intense colours. As the female is willing to spawn she follows the male that is pressing his head towards the layer of peat and as the female contact the belly of the male both of them dive into the peat layer. This layer should have a thickness of at least the length of the biggest animal or better some deeper so they can dive completely into it.

The male flinders around the female, displaying his fins high- up with most intense colors. As the female is willing to spawn she follows the male that is pressing his head towards the layer of peat and as the female contact the belly of the male both of them dive into the peat layer. This layer should have a thickness of at least the length of the biggest animal or better some deeper so they can dive completely into it.

The spawning take place during the whole fertile life of the fishes, starting at 5 to 6 weeks of age till they become old and weak or die by the lack of water in there natural environment. This will be within 8 to 11 months, depending on the temperature . Higher temperatures will trigger more rapid aging.

 

In the wild Austrolebias lives in cool environments during the wintertime. Temperatures in Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina can get very low. Incubation time is normally 8-10 weeks if stored at high temperatures ( 25 C.) and longer if kept at lower temperatures. The development can take that 4 tot 5 months also. So it is wise to check the eggs on a regularly basis to see if the eyes inside the eggs are fully developed and the iris is good visible. If eyed- up, put a part of the peat with the eggs in water that has an cool (ca. 18 C) temperature. If the fry hatches normally and swim within a few hours you also wet the rest of the peat. After hatching I feed the fry immediately with Artemia nauplii. A day or so later I pour the water together with the fry off and place them in well filtered tank without any peatmoss to grow up. Austrolebias are not used to strong currents and juveniles can die if turbulence is to strong.The remaining peat will still have eggs inside that are not ready to hatch. You can repack the peat and store it for some extra time. This is nature's answer on short rain showers that fill pools only temporarily followed by another dry period. Such an event would kill the complete population of the species in that area if all eggs would have hatched with first rains. These (late) eggs will hatch later, sometimes very much later, and the older ones will eat these young's.

As stated before, young’s are growing fast and will produce their first eggs after 5 to 6 weeks already, if not even sooner. This breeding information is applicable to most Austrolebias. If the above Austrolebias- species do have an different behavior you will find below in this chapter under <remarks>.

Remarks;

 


Variations
   

Map
   

Meristic's
Max. size 5.0 cm.
Dorsal 22.5,
Anal 23.5,
D/A -2.0
LL scale count (average) 26.5
Pre- dorsal length to % SL – 48.5 %
Depth to % SL – 39.4 %
 

Literature
Costa, W.J.E.M. 2006. The South American annual Killifish Genus Austrolebias (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae): phylogenetic Relationships, descriptive Morphology and Taxonomic Revision. Zootaxa, (1213): 81, fig. 32.