Austrolebias/Cynolebias Collections by Eduardo Susena 1981/1983.

Tim Addis & Eduardo Susena

Photographs by Eduardo Susena (unless otherwise stated). Line Drawing by Ruud Wildekamp taken from 'A World of Killies' Vol II.

This article has been adapted from Killi-News 220 December 1983. Photographs are captioned as Austrolebias according to 'Killi-Data' by Dr.J.H.Huber. Text is put in according to the original article.

Austrolebias sp. Route 9 km 205

Some years ago during my period as BKA editor I made contact with Eduardo Susena then living in Montevideo, Uruguay. Many parcels containing fish & eggs were sent over including the first import of the then Cynolebias Affinis nigripinnis (now called Austrolebias affinis). I asked Eduardo to write about his collections & he sent me an article which I put into Killi-News along with a map & slides which were also included.

Austrolebias adloffi

Austrolebias adloffi Black

I first became interested in Killifish about 1979 & have been collecting wild Austrolebias/Cynolebias native to Uruguay for 3 years. In July 1981 I made my first collecting trip to the Department of Tacuarembo where I was lucky enough to find a new type of Cynolebias known as Cynolebias Affinis nigripinnis.

Biotope of Austrolebias affinis

Wild male Austrolebias affinis


Since then I have made several collecting trips to various parts of Uruguay but have been unable to find anything new until recently. In 1983 during one of my collecting trips to the Department of Rocha (where most of the Austrolebias/Cynolebias indiginous to Uruguay are found), I found a small Cynolebias species near the small town of Velazquez which is located some 50 km north of Rocha on route 15. The water temperature was as low as 4'C (40'F) and pH 6.8.

Austrolebias gymnoventris Velazquez

On the 11th of September 1983 I visited an area in the Department of Colonia where I found what was once described as Cynolebias carvalhoi in Uruguay, and thought to be an extinct species. I hesitate to say that this is the same type as that originally found in Santa Caterina, Brazil, as these had crossbars and the type found in Uruguay has none. This Cynolebias carvalhoi is a rather large species, the dorsal is brown, the anal green and the body is brown/greenish - browner on the top near the dorsal and greener in the belly.

Aust. carvalhoi Uruguay.Photo J.S de Torres

Austrolebias viarius


It is very interesting to see the differences amongst the various populations of Cynolebias luteoflammulatus. The type locality of this species is a pond close to the River Valizas. There, C.luteoflammulatus is sympatric with C.cheradophilus and the livebearer Phalloceros caudimaculatus. The livebearers are able to survive due to a deep part of the pond which retains water during the summer months.

Key to Map:

  • A = C.adloffi
  • C = C.cheradophilus
  • L = C.luteoflammulatus
  • V = C.viarius
  • M = Cynopoecilus melanotaenia
  • W = C.wolterstorffi
  • ? = New type found near Velazquez

The C.luteoflammulatus of the type locality are of medium size and have 5 to 6 thick black vertical bands crossing the body in the hind part. These bands are paler at the top in some males. In the BKA booklet 'The Genus Cynolebias' by Jan Willem Hoetmer (1980), 2 photographs appear on page 13 of C.luteoflammulatus called colour variety 1 and 2. Both colour varieties occur in the type locality (Valizas).

Another population of C.luteoflammulatus are found sympatric with C.adloffi in a roadside pond near La Coronilla, Route 9 km 315. These are smaller and have many thin dark vertical bands crossing the hind part of the body.

Austrolebias sp. Route 9 km 315

Austrolebias affinis


Finally at one side of Route 9 at km 205, near the city of Rocha, we found what could be the largest variety of C.luteoflammulatus or perhaps a new species. It is perhaps best that we call this population C.sp.Route 9 km 205. This population has many thick dark bands, not only in the hind part, but also in the front part of the body.

I have experimented with controlled crossings of C.luteoflammulatus and C.sp.Route 9 km 205 to try and establish their true identity but have been unable to get any eggs from this crossing.