Discus genus to be split into three species

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The genus Symphysodon is to be split into three species, delegates at the second OATA conference were told on Monday.

Heiko Bleher, the well-known ichthyological explorer, who was a keynote speaker at the conference, told delegates publicly for the first time that he was currently working on a 900-page monography of Discus.

PFK spoke to Bleher about this publication back in January 2004 and he told us that the work should remove much of the misunderstandings associated with the taxonomy of the genus.

Bleher said that his field studies of Discus, which he's undertaken across a wide area of the Amazon basin over many years, suggested that the current organisation of the genus was incorrect and recent molecular work seems to support this.

According to Bleher, DNA studies by molecular biologist Axel Meyer of the University of Konstanz show that the genus should be split into three to eventually include: Symphysodon aequifasciata, S. haraldi and S. discus.