Galaxy rasbora under threat

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Just six months since its discovery, the soon-to-be-described Galaxy rasbora, is facing the threat of being wiped out by the aquarium trade, a distributor has warned.

The brightly coloured cyprinid from Myanmar, which was first introduced into the hobby in September 2006, has been collected so heavily that catches of the species are down to just a few dozen fish per day.

An exporter announced on Petfrd.com that a recent trip to the species' habitat had revealed that the new species was already under threat.

"Alas, there is not much to celebrate concerning the Galaxy habitat", wrote the exporter.

"This past Monday I had the opportunity to visit the type locality. East of Inle Lake, it is in the highlands at 1045m elevation. It is a micro-habitat. The water source begins with a spring.

"This small pool is then diverted into an area for public use. After which it flows into a sort of wetland, formerly overgrown with grasses. Water is at most 2-3 feet deep.

"This whole flooded grassland/wetland is actually caused by a man-made weir for agricultural irrigation below the spring.

"Within these past couple of months the vegetation has all been trampled to non-existence. The catch is now at about 30-50 pieces a day. You know where I'm going."

The species was first bred by aquarists from the Bolton Museum Aquarium in the UK, and has subsequently been bred by a number of aquarists around the world.

Clearly, the pressure faced by the species means that it is now time for the aquarium trade to curb further damage and stop purchasing the species.

Any fishes purchased should be bought only by those who intend to breed them.

The species has recently been described by ichthyologist Tyson Roberts, who is due to publish his paper naming the species next month.

The fish is not a Microrasbora and will be placed in a new genus along with the fish currently known as Microrasbora erythromicron.

The species lives in cool, alkaline water of around 24C or less. It is found in sympatry with the undescribed Rosy loach, Yunnanilus sp., and Danio sondhii.

Pictures by Neil Hepworth and TKT.