Killifish conservation programme

From Jean H. Huber
Private address: 7 Bd Flandrin, 75116 Paris, France
Laboratoire d'Ichtyologie, M.N.H.N., 43 rue Cuvier, 75231 PARIS Cedex 05.
e-mail : (NEW, but today inactive)
S.F.I. : Societe Francaise d'Ichtyologie (same address).

Paris, December 29. 2001

Dear Colleague, dear Aquarist! 

First of all, may I wish you, your beloved and your fishes, a merry and prosperous New Year 2002! 

This fourth Newsletter (the last one is dated March 9) is focused on the very important item of Killifish conservation, on the status of Killi-Data online and on new publications, with a genus revalidated. 

Killi-Data online has been finished since about a year and has been evaluated by peers on Intranet and CD's : it promises to be the ultimate standard of published knowledge on killifishes, both for scientists and aquarists. 
Several people enquired about why it was still unpublished on the web, while it was announced to be near completion since long.  
The answer is simple :

  • first, the website itself (not the contents) is not safe (security keys, protected access, etc.) and professionals are working actively on the issue;
  • second, because I knew some delay was probable, I have initiated a substantial improvement consisting in trying to obtain a top quality color photo of the male and the female of each valid species (above 700).

I am pleased to inform you that the objective is already 90% fulfilled, owing to the kind cooperation of some of the best worldwide photographers, whom I would like all to thank and honor here already : E. Pürzl, M. Chauche, J. Kadlec, W. Stenglein, R. Wildekamp (each 5, with more than 100 slides !), O. Buisson, A.D. Castro, H. de Bruyn, J. Brill, J.F. Fels, J.L. Amiet, J.-P. Vandersmissen, J.W. Hoetmer, G. Rosch, W. Staeck (plus F. Vermeulen, S. Hellner, R. de Boer, who had donated some slides for the illustrations of my Rivulus book, back in 1992). 

The primary objective of this newsletter is to offer you to participate in the finalization of that fantastic project. 
Therefore, if you have a beautiful color slide (preferably of 35 mm standard) of any of the species in appendix 1, do not hesitate to send a duplicate to me urgently (or an original, if you have several slides of a similar quality). 
Similarly, if you hold a prize-winning color slide of a species not in the following list (i.e., already in my hands) and still want to participate, do not hesitate to send a duplicate since it will be a worthwhile complement (please, do not send numerized photos, they cannot be used for the project): your cooperation is strongly welcome and appreciated! 

Killi-Data is a cooperative platform. 

What will you get for your cooperation ?

  • First, you will get free entry to Killi-Data online (as any contributor) for a period that depends on the level of your contribution. 
  • Second, you will get royalties as a proportion of the fees, pro-rata to the number of the slides featured in the data base (if you wish so).
  • Third, higher revenues may be anticipated (if you decide so), from publishers (who will have free access to the database), when they directly request a photo from you for publication. 
  • Fourth, you keep your freedom while retaining your copyrights (I shall never publish or give your photos for publication ; they will be used only in Killi-Data online, with a low density to avoid the risk of pirate copies).

In appendix 1, you will find the list of missing slides to date. 
Please send your slides immediately tomy private address, since, for technical reasons, the website may only be published when most slides are received! Thanks in advance.

Finally, a few people enquired about why the website should be payable.
For three reasons, mainly; 

  • first, I need to reimburse the ongoing costs (budget: about 300 US Dollars or Euros to duplicate slides, plus the cash to pay each year to the Internet hosting provider), if I cannot find a financial sponsor (and I must admit it is going to be difficult, since all contacted pet fish companies have failed to accept, up to now); 
  • second, I aim to reward the contributing photographers and, as usual, to stimulate research by grants to young researchers; 
  • third, and probably, most important, I want to build with Killi-Data online a community of cooperation gathering most scientists (many of them already agreed to be part of the advisory committee) and of course interested aquarists (who will get free entry against various cooperation). 

And, obviously, no money for me! 
Another way (among many) to cooperate is to send appropriate data: you can also help to disclose who, for each species, did breed a species for the first time, worldwide and which year (maybe yourself, or a friend aquarist, or an aquarist mentioned in an old magazine): in appendix 2, you will find a list of the species for which I need the information, please send an e-mail ASAP. 

Finally, if you have purchased the book Killi-Data 2000 and fear not to be able to cooperate, do not worry, you'll get free entry too (you'll need to ask the seller in your Association to send me an e-mail to certify your purchase; if you ask it now, you'll be get your password among the first to discover the website). 
And I am pleased to announce that DKG has signed the agreement to sell the book in its German version, so that German-speaking hobbyists do have access now to Killi-Data (and that the Portuguese are finalizing their translation). 

Just enough of presentation and promises. 
The availability of Killi-Data online is to be announced soon with 100 millions bytes of data and over 1500 photos, make sure you'll be among the first to surf ! 

The second objective of this Newsletter is to inform you of new publications relating to Cyprinodont research: 

  • First, a new species, Rivulus torrenticola, that is unique not because of its colors, but because the description is the result of the cooperation between Franz Vermeulen, a dedicated killifish aquarist, collector and discoverer of the species who wanted to study and describe himself his species and a kind and cooperative professional ichthyologist of the Amsterdam Museum (thanks Isaac!).
    Vermeulen, F.B.M. & I.J.H. Isbrücker. 2000. Rivulus torrenticola n. sp. (Actinopterygii: Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae), a new Killifish from Highlands in the Guyana shield, Beaufortia, 50 (10), December: 185-190, 5 figs., 1 tab. 
  • Second, an important new paper dealing with the osteology in Epiplatys for the first time and which confirms the validity of Aphyoplatys as a genus and revalidates Pseudepiplatys as a full genus, based on new osteological characters (these two taxa being distinctive in evolution to all Epiplatys). Also, a unique paper because a new researcher is coming in, following the incentives I offered: Aarn, an Australian veterinarian and a senior ichthyologist who has already studied in depth Atherinids, fishes from Australasia related to Killifishes.
    Aarn, A. & M.A. Sheperd. 2001. Descriptive Anatomy of Epiplatys sexfasciatus (Cyprinodontiformes: Aplocheilidae) and a phylogenetic Analysis of Epiplatinae. Cybium, 25 (3): 209-225, 21 figs. 
  • Third, a series of important new papers by Graciela Garcia, an Uruguayan geneticist who deals with the evolution of South American annuals and their probable history in the last few million years. Also, a proof that, today, molecular biology (DNA) is not any more restricted to rich labs in western countries! 
    Garcia, G., A.I. Lalanne, G. Aguirre & M. Capetta. 2001. Chromosome Evolution in the Annual Killifish Genus Cynolebias and mitochondrial phylogenetic Analysis. Chromosome Research, 9: 437-448, figs. 
  • Fourth, I am pleased to inform you of a new small website dedicated to a symposium on the latest research on the genus Cyprinodon. It has been prepared by Prof. Bruce J. Turner and major specialists, worldwide, of Cyprinodontins, as a tribute to the famous American ichthyologist, Prof. Robert R. Miller (whom everybody admires, including me obviously). You'll read lots of interesting information in abstracts on biology, phylogeny, food and conservation status of these fishes, including new species still to be described (but please do not publish its contents without permission, since the actual papers have not been published yet). (today inactive) 
  • Fifth, I forgot to mention while reporting on Ghedotti's major review of lampeyes that he revalidated Platypanchax (only one species, modestus) as a full genus from Hypsopanchax with new osteological characters and, as the above two novelties, this is taken into account in Killi-Data online (please make notes on your book). 
  • Last, I would like to greet and support an important initiative regarding species conservation from Tim Addis ( ), Charles Nunziata (, Axel Schwekendiek ( ), Richard Sexton ( ), who are well known experienced aquarists and dynamic members of AKA, BKA, DKG, IKA. 
    A wonderful Conservation programme is being undertaken with cooperating aquarists who volunteer to maintain some species at risk… visit (today inactive) or (today inactive) or (today inactive).
    Species are classified into green/orange/red lists according to the level of endangerment (as an emotional example, remember that Fundulopanchax oeseri is strongly endangered). 
    Some other species are strongly threatened like Aphanius apodus, and the South American Annuals in Leptolebias, Campellolebias and the Brazilian coastal sp., also some Cyprinodon from Mexico, according to Dr Contreras, even if realistically their colors are not appealing to aquarists.
    In Killi-Data online, the status of each valid species is given following CITES for extinct and endangered species and with updated information (CITES, as an official international body, is a bit slow). 
    The major risk of such a project by aquarists is credibility (from a scientific perspective), i.e. when too much drama is put into it and the project becomes too big with not really involved participants, and falls down like a French "soufflé". 
    To avoid that, think cautiously, be realistic, become part of the project only for one species on a long term basis, and it may well succeed !
    I am often asked by aquarists in what manner they can contribute to science. There are many ways, but conservation is one among the noblest and most useful in the long term. 
    Sooner than later, it will be too late (remember Cyprinodon inmemoriam). The venture needs structure and continuous support. 
    Of course, I cheerfully wish it is a great success. 
    And I strongly believe that you, personally, can make it a success. 

Do not hesitate to ask questions for future Newsletters (but understand that this Newsletter is the before last that you receive without actually registering to the mailing list, a free service of Killi-Data online). 

In the next Newsletter, I shall report on a new important way for aquarists to contribute in Killifish scientific knowledge. 

Thank you for your support over the years.

With my kindest regards. 


Note to Internauts : do not hesitate to forward this e-mail to others, who are not on the distribution list (this is their last chance).

Note to the editors of Killifish Associations : the above announcement may be published freely in your newsletter; beware, though, of possible alterations due to incompatibilities between softwares and please do re-establish italics for all scientific names !

Appendix 1 & 2 : missing slides and missing aquarium data for Killi-Data online (not published here : see the latest status in COOPERATE) (today inactive… photos are now all digital).

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