A multidisciplinary team of academics and students from the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás Hidalgo, in western Mexico, achieved the reintroduction to its natural habitat of the tequila fish, a species that until a few years ago only lived in fish tanks and was considered semi-extinct.
The species, whose scientific name is “zoogoneticus tequila”, is a small fish with a back fin dyed in yellow and orange tones, a characteristic for which the locals of the Teuchitlán River, where the spice is endemic, call it “gallito”. Since 2015, researchers in areas such as parasitology, ecology, invertebrates, water quality, limnologists, ichthyologists, environmental educators, among others, have taken on the task of reintroducing the tequila fish to the Teuchitlán River.
The experts narrate in a note published on the page of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás Hidalgo that four years of intense work, the first stable populations of tequila fish are already observed. In addition, they highlight that in the process the ecological processes of the Teuchitlán River are also being restored, affected by pollution and the artificial introduction of stone species of tequila fish, such as carp and tilapia.
The tequila or gallito fish has peculiar characteristics and behaviors. It is a species of viviparous fish, which goes through a 45-day pregnancy as part of its reproduction process.
Before, to copulate, the males perform a kind of marine dance in which they display their yellowish and orange anal tail. The female mistakes the tail for a dragonfly larva, and as she approaches in confusion, she is caught by the male to copulate.
More than anecdotal, the process is for natural selection purposes. With a particularly striking tail, only males that have survived to reproductive maturity have a chance to reproduce, maintaining a process that guarantees the survival of the fittest specimens, according to a note from The country.