NANFA-- Fish Non-Release Policy, welaka, better than welaka

Mark (
Mon, 15 Sep 2003 22:54:05 -0400

At 1:16 PM -0500 9/15/03, Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS wrote:
>Like NANFA, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (an organization
>for herp enthusiasts) also has a policy on not releasing captive animals.
>You can access their brochure here:
>Something like this should be included in any order of aquatic organisms
>bought, sold, or traded by anyone.

We inlcude this notice with all shipments:

Help yourself if you or anyone wants to use it. That's what it's
there for. Also, maybe we can do more to promote captive breeding.
One successful breeder could produce enough welaka or whatever to
supply all the native fish heads I know of who want them. (I think
Steffen already said that!) Also, all this focus of attention on
welaka, as though it were some Holy Grail of fishes, is likely to
only intensify pressure on the species. I'll chime in now and say
that Phoxinus oreas is the fish I've always considered the standard
for beautiful color and form. If you can get hold of a copy of
Freshwater Fishes of Virginia, there's a perfect one among the color
plates in the back, it's also in the monster Axelrod tropical fish
atlas; Plate 17 in American Aquarium Fishes by Robert J. Goldstein;
and plate 67 in Freshwater Fishes of the Carolinas, Virginia,
Maryland and Delaware. Here's a less than perfect shot:

Six reasons not to catch Pteronotropis welaka for your aquarium:

They are very fragile and drop dead if you look at them sideways.

They are tiny, defenseless little fish that will be destroyed by any
tankmate bigger than a baby Heterandria formosa.

They likely only live for a year even under optimal circumstances.

The males are the only ones that are colorful and they only have the
color and long fins if they are in full breeding condition and happen
to be a primary male, or whatever the term is, that happens to have
the long finnage. Many mature males do not display this character.

They are very difficult to collect, prefering waters that are deep,
dark and unwadable. Their habitat in also prefered by alligators and
water moccasins.

There are _lots_ of fish that are easier to collect, easier to keep,
easier to breed, _and_ more colorful! And which are not in trouble
in the wild. If you need recommendations, let me know.

There, I did my bit for welaka conservation. Maybe NANFA can write
its own grant proposal and use some of the Conservation Grants monies
to recruit a qualified researcher to do some hard field and
literature work to find out what's really up with welaka and how it
can be preserved. OK, stepping off soap box...

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