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Apistogramma luelingi male. One of the many Apistogramma species found in Amazon river basin

Collecting Trip to Peru: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The next morning when I woke up, I ran straight into the fishroom where we had “jarred” all the Aphyolebius rubrocaudatus killifish from our last catch. Considering they were in a confined space for the first time, all of them were doing great. We fed them some flakes and dried bloodworms soaked in water. Some readily accepted the feed and some didn’t.

We got ready. After a quick breakfast, we started driving in our motocar towards a nearby village with few streams, where Brian had fished previously. Locals were enjoying the cold water of the stream on that sunny day. We stepped in and started dipping our nets.

After catching a few Aequidens sp. , Brian called out my name, excitement ringing in his voice, and that was when I realized, he had caught something very interesting. Like my expectations, it was amazing and beautiful Apistogramma leulungi. Felix, our local guide, continued to net around us and half an hour later we had a trio of these beautiful apistos.

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A tight close shot of the mouth. Surprisingly this male was in excellent condition unlike most wild caught fish which had nipped fins etc.

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Those beautiful and sharp dorsal fins were in the excellent condition without any damage

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Closeup shot of the tail.

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This male was around 2.5″ in length

Within an hour we caught some Aphyolebias rubrocaudatus, some Porthole Catfish or Dianema longibarbis, Wolfish (Erythrinus sp. “Peru” ) and some tetras. Felix stepped further into the stream dipping his net in deeper water. After a few dips, he came back with a very beautiful knifefish, Gymnotus chaviro.

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Gymnotus chaviro, a knifefish found in Rio Las Piedras and its tributary streams

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Brian inspecting the South American lungfish, Lepidosiren paradoxa

While I was appreciating the beauty of this knifefish, Brian came back with a weird catch. It first looked like an eel, but after a close inspection, we found that it had organs which are a characteristic of lungfish. I was not 100% sure about it, but based on it’s appearance and “legs” it probably was a lungfish, and we’ve since come to identify it as Lepidosiren paradoxa.

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Beautiful yellow color freckle on juvenile Lepidosiren paradoxa

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Yellow freckles fade as they grow bigger in size

We released both the lungfish and knifefish back in the water and bagged some tetras and apistos. Once out of the stream, we socialized with the locals there and after taking some pictures we left for another place.

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A local kid showing me a snail he caught thinking I might be interested in it

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A group of youngsters posing for some photographs

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A new emerging leaf that looks like a flower

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Brian inspecting the lungfish and local kids getting excited about it

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This was the pool where we caught these fish. pH of 4.6 and temperature of 79F. A perfect blackwater tropical biotope

It was around 1:00PM and we were driving towards a new place where Brian had caught a non-annual killifish a few years ago. We were not sure if that place will have water or not because it was very close to a highway and they might have filled that pond for construction. We reached our destination which was a small bridge over a stream. It was very dusty there because of its close proximity to the highway. We went in and started dipping our nets. It didn’t take us long to catch our first Rivulus christinae, a very beautiful non-annual killifish. We also caught some tetras from the same spot.

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Rivulus christinae.  A very colorful non annual killifish

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Males have amazing fluorescent colors

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closeup of the colors on male’s body

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These were around 2.5″ in length

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Rivulus christinae female

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Anal fins in females are colorful

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Closeup of the tail

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Habitat of Rivulus christnae

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Brian and I posing for a photo

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Brian celebrating the collection of Rivulus christinae

At around 3:30 PM we started heading back to our place.

Upon reaching home, we put killifish into deli cups and all other fishes in tanks. Then I started playing with a red howler monkeys who lived on treetops outside our house and tuxpi, our Peruvian naked dog.

After some chatting and homemade dinner, we hit the bed. Tomorrow, we’d have to drive pretty far to catch some more killifish and cories.

– Sumer

Collecting Trip to Peru: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5