Tequila splitfin

General information

Once exclusively found in the Ameca River basin in Mexico these rare members of the splitfin family are an endemic species as they are defined by their geographical location. However, scientists declared them officially extinct as of 2003 as their last remaining home a 4m wide pool in Teuchitlan so an introduction of guppies which look to of killed off the last of the species in the area.

Tequila fish have skin made up of mosaic scales which change colour depending on the light however have a base colouring of a very deep purple. Their fins stand out against their body as they can vary from dark olive to a blueish grey. Very similar in size the best way to distinguish between males and females is the end of their dorsal and anal fins as males will have a very pronounced cream edge to them whereas females show almost no change in colour from the base to the end of their fins.

Tequila fish feed on a variety of small crustaceans and insect larvae.

Successful reintroductions of Z. tequila by modern zoos have saved this species from extinction. the International Union for Conservation of Nature gave the species the status of endangered, a boost from their “extinct in the wild’ classification.

The combined expertise of zoo conservationists and a determined team at the Michoacán University of Mexico has led to more than 1500 fish being returned to springs in the
Teuchitlán River in the state of Jalisco in southwest Mexico.

With the fish thriving and already breeding in the river, the project has been cited as an International Union for the Conservation of Nature case study for successful global

Fun fact
The species name, tequila, derives from the Tequila Volcano, which looms near their locality.


Latin name - Zoogoneticus tequila
Class - Actinopterygii
Family - Goodeidae
IUCN Status - Endangered
Habitat – Freshwater springs, ponds, and shallow lagoons.
Distribution – Endemic to the Ameca River basin in West-central Mexico.

BPCZ Lowerres 09094

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