It all started with an aquarium his father bought for the family home in Venezuela. The fish swam and ate and created an environment that captivated the watchful eye of then-10-year-old Hernan Lopez-Fernandez.
Hernan Lopez-Fernandez looks at a Geophagus winemilleri specimen in his lab at Texas A&M University. Lopez-Fernandez, a wildlife and fisheries sciences doctoral student, and Donald Taphorn of the University of the Llanos in Venezuela described and named the newly discovered fish in a recent issue of Zootaxa. It was named for Dr. Kirk O. Winemiller, an ecology and evolutionary biologist for the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and Lopez-Fernandezs mentor. (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station photo by Kathleen Phillips)
Geophagus winemilleri, recently described and named for Dr. Kirk O. Winemiller, an ecology and evolutionary biologist for the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, by his doctoral student Hernan Lopez-Fernandez of Venezuela. The fish comes from South American rivers and can be found in both ornamental trade and fish markets there. (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station photo by Kathleen Phillips)
"One of the first fish of my own was called a Texas Cichlid," Lopez-Fernandez said. "I was hooked on fish."
Little did the young South American boy realize the role Texas would play in his life. Now a doctoral student in Texas A&M Universitys wildlife and fisheries science department, Lopez-Fernandezs research into the fish of his homeland recently resulted in the discovery of three new species. One of them he named after his favorite Texas fish scientist Dr. Kirk O. Winemiller.
Kathleen Phillips | Texas A&M University
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