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© All rights reserved
Guenter Ellenberg


All translations into English by Matthias Naumann, Germany and Bill Kohler, Ohio-USA  

Allotoca dugesii

BEAN, 1888

Allotoca dugesii BEAN, 1888
Fundulus dugesii BEAN, 1888
Adinia dugesii JORDAN & EVERMANN, 1896
Zoogoneticus dugesii MEEK, 1902
Zoogoneticus dugesii MEEK, 1904
Allotoca dugesii TURNER, 1937
Allotoca vivipara DE BUEN, 1940
Allotoca dugesii SMITH & MILLER, 1980

English name:
Bumblebee Goodeid

Goodeidae JORDAN, 1923

Goodeinae JORDAN, 1923

Original description:
BEAN, T. H. (1887): Descriptions of five new species of fishes sent by Prof. A. Dugés from the Province of Guanajuato, Mexico. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 10: pp. 370 - 375.

Derivation of the species name:
named dugesii after the ichthyologist Mr. DUGÉS, USA.

Type locality:
unknown (Guanajuato?), Mexico.

Meristic properties:
Dorsal fin = 14 - 17 rays;
Anal fin = 11 - 12 (rarely 13) rays;


Allotoca dugesii is a Goodeid with a compact body, a small, pointed head and a dorsal close to the tail fin. The males reach a size of about 6 centimetres, the females of about 7 centimetres. The upper parts of the body are olive-brown and the lower parts are silver. From the eyes down to the tail the males have a dark band with a greenish tinge. The females display broad vertical lines on their sides, which alternate with bright blue reflective areas.

Keeping Allotoca dugesii is not easy. In captivity it is difficult to have healthy animals over several generations.

The hard water should have a pH value of at least 7. The temperature should be between 18 °C and 24 °C. They benefit from variation in temperature - just like many other Goodeids. The tank should have a capacity of at least 100 litres, otherwise the males get very aggressive. Moreover, Allotoca dugesii is an active swimmer.

In the aquarium there should be enough hiding-places in the form of luxurious plantings, stone constructions and roots. In its natural habitat this Goodeid usually lives in shallow, muddy lakeside regions that are covered with plants.

The feeding of this species is without problems, with flakes, frozen and live-food of any kind accepted, but the diet should include vegetable matter to some extent. For this Allotoca dugesii can be fed with scalded spinach in addition to the other foods. Also, algae should not be removed from the tank since they are an additional food-source for the fish.

The breeding of Allotoca dugesii seems to be more difficult than is the case with other genera of Goodeids. One brood consists of up to 30 fry, which have a size of only about 5 mm. Since the parents chase after their fry, it is important to separate the mother for delivering in an extra tank with many plants.

In its natural habitat, Allotoca dugesii appears side by side with Allotoca diazi. Yet, hybridization of the two species has not been detected. Genetic barriers and different mating behaviour prevent it.

In their habitat, Allotoca dugesii as well as Allotoca diazi are found in small numbers only. So these fish are not a numerous fish.

Allotoca dugesii has relatively regular pigmentation and the appearance of this species can change within a few moments.

It is striking that in its habitat Allotoca dugesii (just as Allotoca diazi) is notoriously infected with skin-parasites, which have a tendency to settle in the dorsal and anal fins.



Allotoca dugesii
(Text by JAN DE MOREE, Netherlands, 2001)

This is a quite attractive species of 6 to 8 centimetres (sometimes even more) and is kept by some members of Poecilia Nederland.

We have found this species for example at Colonia Guadalupe and Rancho El Molino. The standard colouring varies between dark and light grey with at least 7 vertical broad, extraordinary blue strias, which beautifully reflect the light.

The stria of the Colonia Guadalupe species is darker. The colouring of the males, which have coloured fin edges, is completely different: green and yellow, sometimes reddish. The species reproduces in captivity, but raising the fry is difficult.

Allotoca dugesii is a beautiful, robust fish with a preference for live-food.



Allotoca dugesii: Many questions - no answers
(Text by MICHAEL KĂ–CK, Austria, 2003)

Maybe I have a somewhat romantic attitude towards fish keeping, but I believe besides well-balanced nutrition, the interior decoration of the aquarium has a strong influence on the health of the animals. As a consequence I try to design as good as possible a living space for each species (I generally keep my fish in species-tanks) that I consider to be natural. I think that every single aquarium should look like a section of the natural habitat of the fish. Taking this as a basis, I hope - and really expect - that the animals prosper well and have numerous offspring. Up to the present day, this has worked well with the only exception of Allotoca dugesii.

In December 2001 I put 11 adolescent Allotoca dugesii, which had been in a very good shape since I obtained in July 2000 from H. STEFAN, in a tank of their own. Before they had been kept together with Skiffia bilineata. The tank had a floor space of 90x40 centimetres and a water level of 25 centimetres. The front was overgrown with a small Echinodorus species; the rear was filled in with pieces of floating Najas.

After being put into the aquarium, the fish disappeared into the Najas. This was in accordance with a species that - referring to G. ELLENBERG - lives in shallow, muddy lakeside regions that are covered with plants. So I considered this behaviour to be normal. Three days later one male was dead. I thought that this was a single, exceptional case and did not attach much importance to the incidence. Another week later, again one male was dead. I recalled that males of the genus Allotoca are very aggressive towards each other. Probably, the dead fish were victims of their fights. One week later, a dead female proved this theory to be wrong. Now I thought that the animals had to be ill and began to search for symptoms: The eyes were clear, the fins uninjured, the skin was intact and the nutritional condition excellent. In short: This fish hardly died of any disease. My next suspicion was that there might be something wrong with the water. So I exchanged about 80% of the water 2 to 3 times a week and removed the detritus from the tank every week. Another male died, then a female, too. Both were very colourful specimens with an absolute healthy appearance, but unfortunately, they were dead.

Finally, it seemed that the whole affair was getting better: The three remaining females delivered fry. I counted (including the six mature animals) 31 individuals and thought to have succeeded. Twelve animals were set into a rearing-tank with a capacity of 30 litres, the rest remained with their parents, which ignored them. Five days later, again a male was dead. I pondered over the reasons of these strange deaths and thought of a possible conclusion. Since the dead animals were only to be found in the morning, I supposed that there was a lack of oxygen in the aquarium (although I used a trickle filter). So, I tested the oxygen-level, which was with 6-8 mg/l at a temperature of 20 °C in the morning close to the saturation-point.

Again, a theory was defeated and a week later another fish was dead. I gave up and hoped that at least the young would survive. Three weeks later (the last mature fish was gone) I put the young Allotocas together. Several days later I now found the first young fish dead and another one just a short while after. Being seized with panic I searched the whole aquarium for Allotocas and found but 5 specimens. I was shocked!
Due to the dense planting I had not recognized the die-off occurring. I set the surviving Allotocas in a tank with some Characodon audax of the same age. A group of Xenotoca variata was put into the aquarium that originally the Allotocas were in. Not a single Xenotoca died in there, but none of the young Allotocas did so, either. Somehow, the transfer of the fish stopped the dying of my Allotoca dugesii.

Even the behaviour of the Allotocas changed rapidly: The formerly timid animals had become active and eager. G. ELLENBERG had a similar experience when adding female Guppies to his fish (personal information).
Of course I was very glad that the dying of the fish had come to an end, but I kept thinking of possible causes for it. Today, I believe that the main factor was some sort of stress. I also considered that keeping the species alone might be a problem. After all, there was no trouble in the community tank with other fish. On the other hand, H. STEFAN has kept his Allotocas in a species tank for fifteen (!) years without any problems.

My aquarium stands right on the floor and I think that people passing by might have literally scared the Allotocas to death. On the contrary, I have never had problems with the other species that I keep on ground level (Xenotoca variata, Characodon lateralis and Zoogoneticus tequila). Is Allotoca dugesii so extremely prone to stress?
Probably, I will not find answers to the questions provided by this species too soon.

Lately, H. STEFAN's whole population of Allotoca dugesii perished overnight. Being asked how this could have happened, he replied that he just did not know.

I think that he is not the only one who has no answers for many questions.



120-Allotoca dugesii 02
Taken from: Aqualog publishing company
Title: all Livebearers and Halfbeaks,
Habitat: Michoacán, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
wild form, female, 4 cm.
Photo by: E. Puerzl.



119-Allotoca dugesii 01
Taken from: Aqualog publishing company
Title: all Livebearers and Halfbeaks,
Habitat: Michoacán, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Mexico.
wild form, female, 6,5 cm
Photo by: E. Puerzl



121-Allotoca dugesii El Molino Dost 03
Allotoca dugesii
Habitat: Rancho El Molino
Photo by: Uwe Dost



124-Allotoca dugesii Weibchen El Molino Dost 06
Allotoca dugesii, female
Habitat: Rancho El Molino
Photo by: Uwe Dost



122-Allotoca dugesii Männchen Patzcuarosee Zufluss Dost 04
Allotoca dugesii, male
Habitat: Patzcuarosea
Photo by: Uwe Dost



123-Allotoca dugesii Weibchen bei Patzcuaro Dost 05
Allotoca dugesii, female,
Habitat: near Patzcuaro
Photo by: Uwe Dost



Allotoca dugesii
Habitat: Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Photo by: Peter Howard




Allotoca dugesii
Habitat: Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Photo by: Peter Howard




Allotoca dugesii
Habitat: Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Photo by: Sergio Arturo




Allotoca dugesii
Habitat: Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Photo by: Alfredo Garza Guarjado



706-14 Rancho_El_Molino
Allotoca dugesii
Habitat: Rancho El Molino, Michoacán, Mexico
Photo by: Brian Kabbes



Allotoca dugesii
Habitat: Colonia Guadalupe, Mexico
Photo by: Kees de Jong



Literature of:

508-Kees de Jong


Allotoca dugesii (Bean, 1887)

T. H. Bean (1887): Description of five new species of fishes sent by prof A. Dugés from the province of Guanajuato, Mexico. Proceedings US Nat. Museum (10): 370-375

B. & R. Clarke (1994): Allotoca dugesi: the golden bumblebee Goodeid. Livebearers (78): 6-6

F. De Buen (1940): Sobre una colleccion de peces de los lagos de Patzcuaro y Quitzeo. Ciencia (1): 306-308

I. Dibble (1999): Hobbyist Aqua Lab Conservation Group "Mexico" Dagboek over de voortgang Deel 1. Poecilia Nieuws (5): 105-110

I. Dibble (2000): Fish Ark Project - Mexico. Viviparous (48): 5-10

O. Domínguez-Domínguez, S. Nandini & S.S. Sarma (2002): Larval feeding behaviour of the endangered fish golden bubble goodeid, Allotoca dugesi, implications for conservation of an endangered species. Fisheries Management and H. Hieronimus (1990): Zu einigen Fragen der Erstbeschreiber im Buch "Lebendgebärende Zierfische" von Meyer, Wischnath & Förster. DGLZ-Rundschau (3): 21-22

I. Hilton (0): Allotoca dugesii. Livebearer News (17): 10-13

C.L. Hubbs (1926): Studies of the fishes of the order Cyprinodontes VI. Material for a revision of the American Genera and Species. Miscellaneaous Publications University of Michigan (16): 1-86

K. de Jong (1998): Verzorging en kweek van Allotoca maculata. Poecilia Nieuws (6): 106-109

K. de Jong (2009): Allotoca dugesii (Bean, 1887). Poecilia Nieuws (5): 6-12

B. Kabbes (1999): Vangreis van Brian en Simone Kabbes, Mexico 1998 Conclusies en bevindingen Familie Goodeidae. Poecilia Nieuws (2): 22-35

M. Köck (2003): Allotoca dugesii. Das Lebendgebärenden Magazin (1): 18-20

D. Lambert (0): The livebearer trail part 2. Viviparous (17): 0-

D. Lambert (0): Allotoca dugesi. Viviparous (3): 0-

D. Lambert (1989): Aztec gold. Livebearers (107): 7-9

D. Lambert (1989): Mexico '87. Livebearers (104): 7-9

D. Lambert (1990): Mexico - the livebearer trail part 2. Aquarist & Pondkeeper (April): 34-

D. Lambert (1991): Mexico's threatened livebearers. Livebearers (116): 21-27

D. Lambert (1993): Allotoca dugesi. Livebearers (129): 14-14

D. Lambert (1994): Introducing goodeids. Livebearers (133): 13-21

D. Lambert (1998): the livebearer world. Tropical Fish Hobbyist (February): 168-170

D. Lambert (2004): Mexico '87. Livebearers (183): 16-18

S.E. Meek (1904): The fresh water fishes of Mexico north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Field Columbian Museum - Zoology (5): 1-252

J. de Moree (2001): De Allotoca's. Poecilia Nieuws (1): 9-12

A.C. Radda (1986): De Goodeidae van Mexico; deel II. TI'H (44): 11-14

A.C. Radda (1986): Cyprinodonte vissen in Mexico 3. Poecilia Nieuws (2): 40-43

J. Robinson (1993): Allotoca dugesi. Livebearers (131): 7-7

M.L. Smith & R.R. Miller (1980): Allotoca maculata, a new species of goodeid fish from Western Mexico, with comments on Allotoca dugesi. Copeia (3): 408-417

B. Snook (1985): Goodeids. Livebearers (83): 6-8

E. Soto-Galera et al (1998): Fish as indicators of environmental quality in the RĂ­o Lerma Basin, MĂ©xico. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management (1): 267-276

E. Soto-Galera et al (1999): Change in fish fauna as indication of aquatic ecosystem condition in RĂ­o Grande de Morelia - Lago de Cuitzeo Basin, Mexico. Environmental Management (1): 133-140

A.T. Tveteraas (0): Collecting goodeids in the area near Morelia, Mexico. Viviparous (23): 0-