First trip to Mexico (16 April - 6 May 2001)
Text and Pictures: Alain Grioche
was during a rainy April that we leave France. I was with Cris, my girl friend
and her sister Martine. My two assistants were not chosen only by their
proximity but also because they are bilingual french-spanish. We were going to
it was planed? We will travel using the local bus. It is really convenient as
between cities you have until four buses by hours, even at midnight! For the
largest travels you could sleep in the bus and arrive late in the morning at
destination. The only problem is that you have to take all in a Rucksack. I had
a small icebox in the bottom of mine, with the clothes and two telescopic nets
over the icebox.
City: First stop. First day, we were going to the Anthropologic museum, equal to
the French "Louvres", when I see a big pond in the middle of the
museum. It was full of lotus and papyrus. It was also full of livebearer! Xiphophorus
helleri, Xiphophorus variatus, Pseudoxiphophorus bimaculata (15 cm) and Goodea
atripinnis (10 to 20 cm). The bottom of the pond was green in some place; it
was the defecation of the Goodea! They were all grazing algae on the wall of the
pond. Unfortunately, there was no way to enter in the museum with my nets… so
it was only a visual observation! Nevertheless I haven't see anything looking to
a Girardinichthys, which are often said to become from the anthropologic museum…
day, we go to visit the Teotihuacan pyramids. The tallest of all Mexico. Since a
long time I have noticed that there is a small Rio in the middle of this place…
Arriving 30 meters before the Rio, there was a strange smell… As say the
Mexicans, it was black waters, and gaseous moreover… Unfortunately, there is a
small village one kilometre ahead and it is the cause of the pollution. As I
will quickly understand every River is "Black" after a city! And there
are cities every where in Mexico. It's not only a problem of collecting detritus
or used waters, a problem of infrastructures I mean. Sorry for my Mexican
friends but a lot of Mexican people doesn't need bin, they simply don't
understand what it could be…
day, We go to see the Xochimilco area. Here, I have to say that Mexico City was
originally on a small island, in the middle of a large lagoon at 2000 meters of
altitude. Now, except sewage, it only remains the area of Xochimilco with a
little of stagnant but free waters. It's ditches were people culture some
vegetable and flowers. It's more a tourist area where you could go on a "Lancha"
for a not reasonable price. The water is deep green, opaque. I find there a lot
of Xiphophorus helleri, some beautiful
Xiphophorus variatus and Pseudoxiphophorus
bimaculata, all introduced species, but any Girardinichthys
viviparus (as said in the literature…) temp. air 26.8°C, water 22°C, pH
7.6, nitrate 50mg/l, nitrite 5 mg/l, Gh 10°, Kh 10°.
fact I returned in Mexico in March 2002, and visit the place a second time to be
sure I haven't miss the Girardinichthys… I have find quite the same conditions
and the same fishes (air 27°C, water 21°C, pH 7.2, nitrate 25mg/l, nitrite 5
mg/l, Gh 6°, Kh 6°).
it is forbidden to fish in the ponds… but if you ask kindly to the watchman,
telling that your are looking for a small fish endemic from Mexico City, he will
rapidly help you with the net !
are mainly three lakes in the park. The two biggest contain a great quantity of Goodea
atripinnis, Tilapias and Carps. The last and smaller one is near the Natural
History museum. And it contains Carps and the desired Girardinichthys
viviparus ! The small Goodeid were there in great quantities. I haven't done
any visual observations as the water was deep green but they were in the net. I
catch mainly fries and big females but in 5 minutes around 30 or 40 fishes were
collected. I have to say now that they seem to be really sensitive to catching I
only succeed in bringing back five young males and a young female as fries. The
two big, but non pregnant, females and the adult male I have take were died few
hours later. Temp. air 24.5°C, water 19.3°C, pH 7.6, Nitrite and nitrate 0, Gh
3, Kh 3.
will pass over a part of the Trip. We spent 10 days to the south, In a
non-Goodeid but interesting area, where I returned in spring 2002. It's amazing
to see how Mexico is a big and contrasted country…
was 15 to 20 cm deep at the extremity of the bridge. It was muddy and
opaque. The bottom of the lake was the same deep mud as those we risk our
life few minutes before. I find here a lot of Poeciliopsis
infans, few Gambusia sp. and
some "Charales", a small atherinid, eat by the locals. After
half an hour fishing around the bridge… no sign of Goodeids, until I
really go into the wheels with my net. They hid in the wheels ! I catch
few Chapalichthys encaustus, mainly pregnant females, and a fry supposed
to be of Zoogoneticus quitzeoensis.
temp. air 35°C, water 28.8°C, pH 8.4, Nitrate and nitrite 0, Gh 16, Kh
20.The Chapalichthys were quite thin and infested by copepods looking as
lernea, indicating their bad conditions of life. Fortunately the two pairs
I take were bring back alive. When they have feed and recovered strong the
parasites were removed, one week after they arrived in my tank.
We take a
"rendez-vous" with the member of the lab to go visiting "Colonia
Guadalupe" another great location for Goodeids. We made the one hour and a
half driving, five people in a bittle… My first time in a bittle !
"Colonia Guadalupe" is a small road with ditch on one side and some
sources and a small swamp on the other side. There is normally three species of
Goodeid here : Skiffia bilineata, Allotoca dugesi and Xenotoca variata. Just as we arrived we see that they were
collecting the water lilies in the ditch… the normally crystal water was a
muddy ditch… we go to the sources… the locals were washing themselves and
some clothes. It's a normal costume in Mexico, as it was in Europe 80 years
ago… The source was white with bubbles ! So we tried to find fishes in the
swamp but with any success. Finally we returned to the ditch where we find good
quantities of introduced Tilapias, Xiphophorus
helleri and Poeciliopsis infans…
but quite nothing of Goodeids. Bad day. temp. air 28.5°C, water 21.5°C, pH
7.6, Nitrite and nitrate 0, Gh 15, Kh 20.
before returning to the biggest world city, we go to see Patzcuaro. It's really
a nice city, a place to visit. The lake of the same name is big but with lots of
groups of plants in the middle, and an island, that indicate it's not deep. The
water is muddy, we go on a small bridge, near a lots of water lilies to fish. In
only one net I bring back something as 7 Goodea
atripinnis (15 cm long) and an Allophorus
robustus of the same size. I will also catch a lot of Poeciliopsis infans and a large "Charales", that Harro
Hierronimus will let me know later that it was Chirostoma patzcuaro, an atherinid endemic from the lake. temp. air
28.5°C, water 21.5°C, pH 7.6, Nitrite and nitrate 0, Gh 15, Kh 20.
I bring back to France, Girardinichthys
viviparus, Allotoca dugesi, Skiffia bilineata, Chapalichthys encaustus, a pair
of Goodea atripinnis and some
Poeciliopsis viriosa catch in the mangles near San Blas. Excepted the Goodea,
that I have bring for a friend, all those are thriving now !
you can also see some more pics (Oaxaca and San Blas) taken by Alain
during his trip.