The concept and principles of Killi-Data stem in 1979 along the project of CLOFFA, co-edited by Prof. Jacques Daget, then ichthyological director of the Paris MNHN, with two other European INSTITUTIONS, London BMNH and Tervuren MRAC. CLOFFA, the CheckList Of Fresh Water Fishes of Africa, has been a major publication, that featured each valid freshwater fish taxon of Africa with its type locality, type series, synonyms and used names, linked with bibliographic references. The Cyprinodonts, included in volume III published in 1983, was co-authored by Rudolph H. Wildekamp (Gemert, Holland), Raymond Romand (Clermond-Ferrand, France) and Joergen J. Scheel (Copenhagen, Danmark and Saint Paul de Vence, France), and the present author was requested to act as an advisor to MNHN.
The ancestor of Killi-Data is the "Updated List of Cyprinodontidae species", a booklet of 48 pages published in 1983, at the same time as CLOFFA III, by Jean H. Huber, the present author, Lothar Seegers (Dinslaken, Germany) and Rudolph H. Wildekamp. The ULC contained two basic lists of names: a "valid list" of those names felt valid, with aquarium populations, breeding characteristics and maximum size; a "general list" with all names and their validity status. These two basic lists, together with a foreword in three languages (French, English and German) explaining the systematic choices, were felt to cover the minimum required for a day-to-day reference. All African information were duplicated from CLOFFA, except some recent taxonomic changes in Aplocheilichthyins. A second edition (in 1986) and a third edition (in 1989) have been circulated to incorporate corrections, updatings and minor improvements.
The main constraint with the ULC was purely technical: complicated and rigid programs have had to be written to build the two simple lists. Only, the emergence of new technologies (PC's and spreadsheets as Lotus123, then Excel, with their simple macro-instructions) have allowed to rethink the project to develop Killi-Data. Unfortunately, the two other co-authors, the former deeply involved in his huge project "A World of Killies" and the latter working at his Doctorate thesis on "Lake Rukwa Fishes", declined to participate.
Since the very beginning, the principles, the structure and the contents of Killi-Data were fixed (see hereafter the "Foreword and Thanks" published in the last Killi-Data 2000, slightly updated from the 1994 and 1996 versions), as a major development of the ULC:
- develop various new viewpoints from the data base and produce new lists, as the list of taxa per describer, the list of species by country, the list of collecting localities, the list of crossing experiments, the list of morpho-meristic data of each species;
- keep the international scope with three languages;
- be objective by taking into account all evidence-based results, but not opinion-based publications;
- include a comprehensive bibliography (first sourced from CLOFFA) and an index by taxon (with key words);
- present state-of-the-art reports of the standpoint of Cyprinodont research (e.g., suprageneric systematics, elementary aspects of taxonomy, diagnoses of genera and subgenera, key success factors for collecting, principles of crossing experiments);
- offer services to killi-hobbyists and students (e.g., a glossary of scientific terms, a list of books of general interest, a list of Killifish Associations worldwide);
- show detailed statistics from the data base for the non-specialist student.
Killi-Data 1994 encompasses all these (396 pages).
Killi-Data 1996 is a refined version (420 pages, with a smaller police size) with a deeply enhanced bibliography and index and few structural additions:
- a code of ethics for the Killi-hobbyist;
- a pyramidal list of all taxa;
- a list of crossings;
- a list of taxonomic changes to Killi-Data 1994;
- a series of maps of collecting localities.
Killi-Data 2000 is very similar (538 pages, with Spanish as an additional language and more than a thousand new collecting localities). However, the lists were dramatically changed following shifts in the systematics of Cyprinodonts that emerged from the three approaches (numerical morphology, detailed osteology and the brand new molecular biology), all being considerably boosted by computerized systematics.
Killi-Data 1996 was freely offered on Internet at Paris MNHN website: www.mnhn.fr/mnhn/iga/bases/killidat (now inactive).
The future of Killi-Data lies most probably along with the various electronic developments, as follows:
- new electronic media, e.g. as Killi-Data 2000 also available on a CD-rom of the French edition, via K.C.F. (VRX format);
- electronic photos of male and female topotypes of each taxon should be featured;
- detailed electronic maps, correlated with the geographical coordinates of the collecting localities should be planned;
- probably an enhanced version of the data base, with additional services, will be made available soon on the Internet, if the financial equilibrium of the book can be met, after more than six years' losses!
Paris, September, 30. 2000.
Updates (January 1. 2001, November 14. 2003 ; February 27. 2004)
Beginning 2001, the web version of the Data Base and the first pages of Killi-Data online were made available to an intranet network for testing and improvements. During 2001 most of the color photos of male and female of each species were gathered from renown photographers. The URL www.killi-data.org for Killi-Data online was secured from ICAN on February 7. 2002 and the complete website was uploaded and available to contributors on July 17. 2002 and widely publicized on August 19. 2002.
On November 14. 2003, an updated version of the Data Base was made available online with maps for the first time.
On February 27. 2004, the Google automatic translator was set up for the whole "Guest" section, together with a powerful search engine.
From April 1. 2005 : a new service, Major abstracts online, immediately upon notice.
From end of 2005: a new list has added with "used names" (in the past, notably in aquarium literature) in comparison to "present names", as a new service for aquarists.
Beginning 2004, a new booklet, named POCKET KILLI-DATA, is published (a yearly series) and is made available through Killifish Associations only with contents for aquarists: valid names of their fish and the aquarium populations, plus their distribution (already published 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007).
Beginning 2007, a new Killi-Data book was published, identical to the 2000 edition in its structure (with Portuguese as an additional language and more than a thousand new collecting localities), each language being independent (each with 410 pages) ; in this edition, some 28 unavailable names (nomina nuda) are withdrawn from lists because they are fully accepted as without value by all authors (all other nomina nuda that have been discussed at some point in time are still maintained with the hope that in the future they also will be deleted (after consensus) ; this new edition is identical in its structure to the 2000 edition with a single difference : each language is produced separately and independently ; apart from the excluded names, there are 1300 names in total (1192 in 2000) : 114 generic names valid out of a total of 139 (106 valid out of a total of 130 in 2000), 813 species names valid out of a total of 1161 (680 valid out of a total of 1062 in 2000), hence 133 new valid species has been described (by 333 authors, vs. 267 only in 2000) ; there are now 247 annual or semi-annual species, 105 species from Brasil and 9 species are definitely extinct ; 2883 aquarium populations in total (vs. 2301 in 2000) ; there are now 4449 articles in bibliography (vs. 3971 in 2000), with Aphanius fasciatus most studied ; there are now 7774 collecting localities x species (vs. 5291 in 2000), a major improvement !
At the end of 2011, a new Killi-Data publication has started named KILLI-DATA SERIES with a focus on new names and on nomenclatural issues and edited irregularly (possibly once a year or less depending on manuscript submissions).
Addendum: MISSION statement of Killi-Data online
Killi-Data aims to present all available information on Killies or oviparous Cyprinodont fishes.
Killi-Data compiles state of the art knowledge, wherever it sources from, scientist or aquarist.
Killi-Data is evidence based, not opinion based. If conflicting results arise from distinct phylogenetic methods, then a compromise is selected that purports the maximum of results, ending up in a splitting way as most taxonomic works, today.
Killi-Data is a non-profit venture that redistributes all financial benefits, the major part being attributed to young scientists or collectors to support research on oviparous Cyprinodont fishes or Killies.
Killi-Data strongly encourages cooperation between ichthyologists, either professional or amateur, and aquarists to build a community of interest and knowledge
Since 2012, Killi-Data has been nested in a non-profit organisation, officially established on May 24. 2012 and named Killi-Data International with the same mission and objectives.
Addendum: excerpts of Killi-Data 2000, presenting the PRINCIPLES of the project.
FOREWORD AND THANKS.
Killi-Data, already nicknamed the "Bible", is the updated data base of the Cyprinodonts or Killies and is aimed at killi-hobbyists and professional ichthyologists, as it encompasses all the necessary scientific data.
It is aimed to give up-to-date information on the fishes: i.e. exact scientific labelling, names of maintained populations, geographical origin, ecology, breeding habits and size, synonyms and describers, collecting localities, crossings, key data on meristics, and bibliographic references.
This information is stored into a computer and will be yearly updated to allow the publication of new editions with new data (see the order form on next page).
Because this book is intended to be practical and easy for everybody to understand, principles of working have had to be followed, especially in complicated and/or debated cases:
- All our decisions are based on published evidence or material already in-print that we are aware of.
- For debated cases the decisions are a consequence of general thinking, conservatism and/or our own analysis. However, since the objective here is to be complete and impartial, other available opinions are also mentioned, preceded by the sign "#", here for the first time. Similarly, the subgenus abbreviation is given, when possible and even if its validity is not sure, to attenuate appraisable differences between genus and subgenus, among authors ("splitters"/"lumpers"). We feel bound to inform the reader that our personal approach aims to be pragmatic and reasonable, more of the "lumper" style. The difficult choices, which result, may tend to keep few genera, each comprising many species, with the atypical species being placed in monospecific genera and the subspecies status being rare and provisional. But we give always priority to published evidence, even if it is of the "splitter" style. In some groups, but not in all, other authors may make different choices, that are founded as well. It seems to us however preferable to allow time to time and not to rush to the radical supposed virtues of the latest method, even if it is fashionable: in short, traditional and modern methods (cladistics, detailed osteology, molecular biology, systematic soft-wares… ) are synergistic and productive; isolated, they may lead to errors and produce sterile conflicts.
Anyhow, these modern methods have brought two major movements in recent publications. First, a general trend in the sharp increase of new supraspecific names. Second, dramatic systematic alterations. Hence, name changes have been much more frequent lately than in the past (especially at the genus level). Today and tomorrow, we, and notably the killi-hobbyists, will have to accept and live with these many frequent changes. Killi-Data just mirrors this situation with objectivity (even if a reversal of the pendulum is predictable in the future) and Killi-Data accounts on these waves of new knowledge.
Apart from this, four important matters must be stressed:
- First, we are herein covering those fishes commonly called "Killies" (from Cobitis killifish by Walbaum in 1792 -today Fundulus), belonging to the oviparous Cyprinodontiformes as qualified in Eschmeyer (1998), Oryzias being excluded.
- Second, the decision (n° 1010) of the Nomenclatorial Commission in 1974 to reject the name Roloffia has been followed: it has value of law. Roloffia is no longer used as such from Killi-Data 2000.
- Third, the synonymization of Aphanius with Lebias (Lazara, 1995) have not been followed, because several authors (Kottelat, 1997, 1999; Wildekamp et al., 1999) have published opposite conclusions. It may be that the Nomenclatorial Commission will have to rule out the case.
- Fourth, the systematics of the genus Orestias and of the Aplocheilichthyins have been reviewed according to still unpublished works by, respectively, Villwock & Siennknecht and Ghedotti, whom we thank warmly for their kind cooperation.
If the reader finds omissions, errors or incoherent observations, his or her remarks will be welcome, either directly to us, or together with the order form of a further edition.
Finally, we would like to thank the many contributors, hobbyists and scientists who have made this new publication possible:
- First, R.H. Wildekamp (Holland) who is largely contributing by his major publication in 5 volumes "A World of Killies"; and equally Prof. J. Daget who gave us his invaluable advices, Dr N. Bailly for the integration to Internet of the 1996 version, P. Watkins, B. Watters, W. Eberl, R. Sonnenberg, J. Sanjuán, F. Malumbres, J.A. Martín and F. Portal for the assistance in translations, and Dr D. Terver (Nancy Aquarium) for the initial production and the financial support.
- Then, those listed herewith, who reviewed and improved the various manuscripts of the different editions.
This ambitious, non-profit making, always-in-progress work is besides aimed to create, from the synthesis of cumulative data, the impetus among scientists and killi-hobbyists to deepen our knowledge on Killies: new observations, collecting trips, and further crossings and genetic analysis. Diskettes are available freely on request in order to distribute the data, as widely as possible. The 1996 files may also be downloaded from the Internet.
Killi-Data 1994 has been a tremendous success since about a hundred of copies has been distributed within a few weeks. With the 1996 version, its coverage has been strengthened to become the reference data base and Killi-Data has been made available on the Internet. In face of year 2000, let's wish to Killi-Data 2000 an equal success !
J.H. Huber, Paris, March 1994, December 1995, November 1999, December 2006, March 2007.