Hearing the name Tabasco, the first thing that comes to mind for a Central European is the spicy chili sauce. However, the Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus) that bears this name is neither particularly fiery nor particularly red – it merely originates, like the chili sauce, from the Mexican state of Tabasco, where this population was first found by Dutch ornamental fish enthusiasts and brought to Europe (more informations on that are in preparation).
The basic coloration of the animals is an inconspicuous gray; what makes them very special is the golden bordered shoulder spot, which many (but not all) animals show. This characteristic is also known from populations from the Mexican state of Veracruz. So far this “Admiral´s epaulette” has not been crossed into breeding lines. Other interesting features of this wild platy from Tabsco are the partially transparent gill cover, resulting in a red spot, and a highly variable tail root pattern that can be completely absent, form a double crescent, or a Mickey Mouse pattern.
The particular challenge in long term breeding of such fish is to maintain variability. It is all too easy to succumb to the temptation of selecting particularly pretty specimens, which results in a uniform type after only a few generations that no longer has much in common with the wild population. To avoid this, as many color variants as possible from the respective population should be allowed to swim in the largest possible mixed shoal. This at least increases the probability that the diversity of forms of a population prevailing in nature will also be preserved among the offspring born in the aquarium.
For our customers: the animals have code 476577 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer