Luiz Tencatt and the BSSW

Once upon a time, a group of aquarium hobbyists and a mad scientist joining forces to reveal the fishy mysteries of the Rio Correntes, Central Brazil…

The success of my good relationship with the hobbyists must be pretty obvious at the moment. I told this story several times but I ask you to listen at least one more time. Well, it all started in 2013, with the description of Corydoras lymnades. I remember when I first contacted Ian Fuller and then Hans Evers to talk about this pretty little sand-dweller Corydoras from the Rio São Francisco basin, and thanks to this work we started to trade e-mails. These formal e-mails started to became more informal and frequent, turning technical conversations onto wonderful friendships little by little. After that, I was able to meet many other friendly people from the hobby, such as Rob McLure, Steven Grant, Ingo Seidel, Markus Kaluza and many others, including Daniel Konn-Vetterlein, from whom I dedicate this small piece.

Corydoras eversi “C 65” © Daniel KONN-VETTERLEIN

The photos in life and fruitful conversations on taxonomy and biology of the Corydoradinae catfishes were the first form of partnership established between us. However, things changed a lot in 2017, when I was first invited to the Catfish Study Group meeting in Wigan, UK. Once there, going to the Natural History Museum in Lodon (BMNH) was na easy task. In a few words, thanks to hobby, I was able to add all Corydoradinae type-specimens to my “taxonomic database”, which is the bedrock of my work. I was able to do the same in at least two additional opportunities, in USA (hosted by Michael Barber) and Germany (hosted by Hans Evers and Ingo Seidel). Despite I was not able to visit the museum in Berlin due to obscure reasons, I improved a lot with the rich material that I received from Hans and Ingo, their old slides with type-specimens photographs, books, articles, and good food and beer of course.

Although all of the aforementioned ways of partnership are extremelly important, in 2016 we reached another level. Hans sent me several specimens from the Madre de Dios basin (Rio Madeira), including the popular CW32. With a well-preserved material, good photos in life (adult and fry pattern) and biotope information, Corydoras knaacki was born, proudly described by TENCATT & EVERS (2016) in a respected journal in our study mater, Neotropical Ichthyology. Yes, one of the most respected hobbyists of the world and I, together, described this fish. As everyone knows, CW32 is not the only “new stuff” in Madre de Dios region, and you should know that other descriptions by Tencatt & Evers are on their way right now.

Corydoras granti “C 20” (female) © Steven GRANT

As you possibly know, Mr. Evers is relentless. In the very same year, 2016, through the analysis of specimens collected by Hans, Tencatt & Britto described a new species in his honor, Corydoras eversi, which was discovered, coded (C65), bred and spread through the hobby by Mr. Evers. Another good example can be pointed here, Steven Grant raised good questions regarding Corydoras arcuatus identity, which lead him to write a piece for the CSG journal. The direct contact with Mr. Grant regarding this issue resulted in a taxonomic review of Corydoras arcuatus (TENCATT, LIMA & BRITTO, Journal of Fish Biology, 2019), which revealed/confirmed the presence of an undescribed species (C20 = Corydoras granti) that honors Steven.

If you think all of these cool stuff is the best we can do together, you are wrong! In 2017 I received Hans in Brazil for a 15 days expedition from Coxim in Mato Grosso do Sul, where I am living/working right now, to Alto Araguaia and then Primavera do Leste both in Mato Grosso. The two goals were the upper Rio Paraguay basin and upper Rio Araguaia basin, more specifically Rio das Mortes basin. I will save the Rio das Mortes basin for another opportunity to publish for the IG BSSW but this was possibly one the best places in Brazil that I collected fish. Tons of new and/or rare species! Let’s focus on the upper Rio Paraguay basin for now, and for a good reason I promise.

Corydoras granti “C 20” (male) © Steven GRANT

Hans visited me in September, 2017. He asked me for nice places to visit and I had a good place in mind. Let’s visit the tributaries to the Rio Correntes! He obviously accepted. It was simply amazing. In a few minutes, two possibly undescribed Astyanax were captured. Finally, also some Loricariids. At the lab, we discovered that we were dealing with two undescribed species of Hypostomus, the spiny guy, which basically looks like a Neoplecostominae (!) and the other one, which seems a miniature of Hypostomus ancistroides from the upper Rio Paraná basin, or simply its sympatric congener H. careopinnatus but with adipose fin. And the new stuff were appearing at each move of our nets. The appex of the expedition was a chinese dragon-like Heptapteridae, which was later confirmed as a new genus and species (!) by Flávio Bockmann. The Rio Correntes is a very large river, full of small- to medium-sized tributaries.

What I mean is, what can we found in this wonderful drainage with a deeper investigation? This is where the BSSW comes to play! Thanks to your generous donation, we will be able to travel again to this wonderful place and try our luck in as much tributaries as we can, photographing every fish species in life, as well as biotope photos. Well, you did your part, now it is time for me to say good bye and prepare my cast net to get some new material for the BSSW-Report! See you soon with wonderful news!

Amendment by Daniel KONN-VETTERLEIN

In May 2019 the IG BSSW decided to support Luiz Tencatt and his scientific work in a financial way. Sponsorship has never been very much in Brazil, but since the last political change any financial support almost disappeared. The past has shown already that the future of our passion is a strong collaboration between hobbyists and scientists, which we want to further by taking this step. Discoveries will be shown and published in the BSSW-Report.

Text: Luiz Fernando Caserta TENCATT – Übersetzung: Daniel KONN-VETTERLEIN – Bilder: Steven GRANT und Daniel KONN-VETTERLEIN

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