QUERY: Mestlapiques

Kevin P. Smith ksmith at umail.ucsb.edu
Sat May 31 02:28:19 UTC 2008

Dear Colleagues,

Does anyone out there happen to know the Latin name for the scaly
viviparous fish called mestlapique? I have found dozens of references
to them as an important food source for the lakeshore people and
chinamperos of Lake Chalco and Lake Xochimilco but haven't been able
to ascertain exactly what they are. Sahagun has a one-line description
of a fish called Michipitli, which maybe the same creature, and Aleman
lists mestlapiques as an important lake fish in his geographical
dictionary. So far, however, I have found no present-day references or
alternative names for them.

I'm also trying to identify a root called Cabecitas de Negro. This
term also shows up in dozens of 17th and 18th century documents and
Sor Juana even has a recipe for it in her cookbook. If anyone has a
guess as to what this water plant may be, I would be much obliged.

Thanks much,

Kevin Smith
Department of History
University of California Santa Barbara

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