Re: NANFA-- environment and the presidency

Christopher Scharpf (
Tue, 22 Feb 2000 19:17:56 -0400

Luke said:

>> Unfortunately Steven, the Iowa Darter disappeared
>> from Kansas Streams long ago. The only ones I
>> know of that still exist in the state are the 4
>> located in my darter tank which are tank raised
>> by Ray Katula. The Iowa Darter, along with several
>> other species such as the Blacknose Shiner,
>> disappeared around 1900 when, believe it or not,
>> water demands on the states rivers was even higher
>> than today. It is my hope upon graduation
>> to get state support (which I am confident will
>> come) to start reintroduction plans for some of
>> these lost species.

That's a noble project, Luke, and I support it 100% in theory. The stumbling
block, of course -- and maybe you've already investigated this -- is that the
Iowa darter found in Kautla's tanks may be genetically distinct from the Iowa
darter population that existed in Kansas 100 years ago.

Larry Page and others have already demonstrated that the wide-ranging
orangethroat darter is actually several species. So one would hate to see an
aquarium-raised Kentucky "species" of orangethroat be used as broodstock for
reintroduction into, say, Oklahoma.

I guess my point is, the Iowa darter you re-introduce into Kansas may be
different from the one that once existed there. If that's the case -- and I have
no idea whether it is, I'm just raising the possibility for sake of argument --
then why bother?

I guess my bigger point is, captive breeding and reintroduction is not a
panacea. As much as we home aquarists like to think that we can "save" a
species, it's really a lot more complicated than that. In fact, there's an
editorial by J.R. Shute about this (among other things) in the next American
Currents...which was just printed today and will be mailed shortly.

Chris Scharpf

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