Re: NANFA-- Collecting ethics

Bruce Stallsmith (
Tue, 13 Jan 2004 10:08:07 -0500

>Last Autumn I had Uwe Roemer to stay for a few days, and he told me of the
>studies he carried out on Apistogramma. These included comparing female
>selection for wild males against some which had been bred in captivity, and
>in every case the wild male was the preferred mate choice. This implies
>that the captive-bred fish had lost some characteristic that directly
>affected their genetic fitness, in spite of this not being visible to our

You make a very good point here, that various human interventions can
significantly affect allele frequencies in populations or species and have
very dramatic effects in just a few generations. This is a major problem for
captive conservation programs. One of the more interesting examples of that
is what has happened to several "arked" populations of Devil's Hole pupfish
in USFWS operated refugia in the southwest. Keeping these populations in
concrete pools has become a form of artificial selection, so that the refuge
populations have become bigger (if I remember correctly) and the males show
different breeding coloration. Simply put, a measurably different fish was
unintentionally created. Would they be fit if put back into Devil's Hole? No
one has tried that experiment...

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A
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