Annual report on the Allotoca-Mesa Central project

Allotoca-Mesa Central, annual report 2023

The development of membership figures in 2023

At the beginning of 2023, 38 participants from 12 countries were represented. There was no major movement in membership development this time. Some members left the project, mostly after losing their breeding group, while some new members joined.
There are currently 40 members from 15 countries in the project. However, there are currently also 4 participants without their own populations. This means that there are currently 36 participants actively keeping Allotoca.

Current situation of the Allotoca populations in the aquariums

The census started again in September and lasted until December. Viewed over this period, the picture is ambivalent. Fortunately, the population increased in most populations. However, we are still below our target for some populations. Regrettably, one population suffered losses and 2 populations (A. dugesii) are still not represented in the project.
Some participants also suffered heavy losses in their populations, which fortunately could be compensated by other participants.

Pregnant female of Allotoca maculata

Here are the results as at 31.12.2023:

BAP subproject

Allotoca catarinae:

After this species had fallen somewhat out of focus in recent years, we can report a positive development here. The number of keepers increased from 7 to 9, with a new project member also contributing his own population. This increased the stock from 47 to 99 animals. Unfortunately, a greater increase was not possible, as one participant suffered a total loss in the course of the year. It remains to be seen whether he will continue to actively participate.

Allotoca diazi:

Here, too, there was a clear positive development. The number of fish kept increased from approx. 100 to around 300 and the number of keepers also increased from 10 to 12. This is a very positive development, so that we can hope to reach the target of 400 animals kept in the project in 2024.

Allotoca meeki:

Following the success of recent years, this trend is continuing. The population has increased from 645 animals to 757 animals in 18 enclosures. The focus here should continue to be on stable, self-sustaining populations.

Allotoca meeki

Allotoca zacapuensis:

Here we had the largest number of holdings to date, but there were total losses in this species among some keepers and so the number fell from 24 to 20 holdings. Fortunately, however, the number of individuals increased from 407 to 637, meaning that we are also above the population limit for this species.

LANP sub-project

Allotoca dugesii:

The situation here in 2023 is somewhat more complicated. Two of four populations, Altdu1-COR-Sant and Altdu4-PAT-RMol, are currently being maintained in the project.

The population of Altdu1-COR-Sant has not really been able to increase. There are 39 animals in only 3 holdings (all in Europe) in the project.

With Altdu4-PAT-RMol, we were able to increase the number of holdings in the project from 3 to 4. Unfortunately, the population in the USA has collapsed. And there was also bad news in the existing holdings, where the population fell from 76 to just 48 animals.

With this species and its populations, the participating members should pay very close attention to the animals in order to avoid a total loss in the project.

Allotoca goslinei:

The population of this species increased slightly in the 2023 reporting period. In total, there are currently 416 animals in 18 holdings. Reports from participants indicate that, despite these positive figures, there were still problems. The animals are considered to be extremely aggressive, as there have been cases of cannibalism, resulting in serious losses for some participants. However, we should not be discouraged by this. The numbers are still good and stable. However, caution is still required due to the "Extinct in the wild" threat status.

Allotoca maculata:

Maintaining a stable population remains problematic here. Despite good breeding successes, there have been further major losses. The situation is therefore mixed. The 2023 population was increased from 59 to 70 animals in 8 holdings.
At the moment there are some participants who have focussed their attention on this species in order to repeat the success of Allotoca goslinei.

Allotoca maculata Alpha male

Neoophorus regalis:

This species is still only present in one enclosure. The population was increased slightly from 9 to 22 animals. It is now certainly important to distribute the population to new keepers in the event of further reproduction, also in order to rule out a total loss. This should be the task for 2024.

Summary and prospects for 2024

As already described for the species, there are different starting points. In the BAP sub-project, the numbers have been increased or are above the defined target. In the LANP sub-project, unfortunately only the population of A. goslinei is relatively secure. For all other populations, a great deal of effort is still required to be able to declare the populations as secure.
The question of whether and how the two populations of A. dugesii that are not yet in captivity can be integrated into the project should also be clarified in the longer term
It's nice to see that there are some keepers who can provide their animals with a lot of space and thus keep larger and more stable populations. But those who do not have so much space available are also important in the project. Here, however, more attention should be paid to the exchange with other keepers. The aim is also, as far as possible, to keep a species in the aquarium that is not genetically impoverished. There are no restrictions if 2 project members exchange the same species with each other. However, it would be nice if this could be communicated to the project managers, as such information is also important in the overview. Therefore, please write a simple and uncomplicated e-mail. However, it remains the case that animals may only be handed over outside the project after consultation and with the consent of the respective project manager.
Another request: Members who have found the call for the census in spam should check their settings again. As an alternative, I can also offer a short notification via WhattsApp. However, we would then need an email with your telephone number and the corresponding consent.

Thank you very much for your co-operation!