RE: NANFA-- Check out Nonindigenous fishes - Channa micropeltes

Jay DeLong (
Sun, 24 Mar 2002 23:53:20 -0800

> for neon Tetra, it was said that there was concern the fish might spread
> downstream from the warm spring site it was found in, one individual.
> Obviously there is more to it than reproductive populations we
> all know that.
> But really Neons reproducing in Wyoming or any where else in the USA? The
> real problem is mostly disease,

and hybridization, predation, species displacement and extinction, and more.
The NAS website serves a valuable function in documenting the existence and
spread of exotics. I read the neon tetra section and the word "concern" was
not used. It says: "The record is most likely the result of fish escapes
from local fish farms that use the hot springs for culturing aquarium
fish...The hot springs area is at an altitude of 8,000 ft and has very cold
winters, but Zuckerman (personal communication) suggested that some of the
introduced species might spread downstream during warmer months and reach
other thermal refugia."

I don't think they're attempting to make value jugements on what's a good
exotic or bad exotic, so they include everything, including seemingly benign
things like neon tetras restricted to hot springs. Certainly such a website
has been made useful by the impacts of round gobies, zebra mussels, milfoil,
purple loostrife (horticulturists!), and on and on. Hardly anyone gave a
damn about introduced until these exotic species impacted them in the
pocketbook. Hey, 10 years ago many of us may have thought a freshwater goby
would be neat to have here! With that in mind, who knows what impacts neon
tetras may have in a hot spring. I'm sure there aren't any native fishes
there, so what other species of insects, amphibians, whatever, may have
evolved there in the absence of fish, and what impacts might those fish have
on those species at vulnerable times of their life histories?

> the worst offenders are usually the fish and game people, look at all the
> tropicals released by fish and game. Peacock cichlids? Who
> thought of that
> one? And that is just the tip of the ice berg when you consider
> all the North
> American fish intentional released outside their natural habitat by the
> state.

No kidding. But there is a serious John Q. Public component as well. Just
consider the impact of whirling disease. That came here from Europe via the
aquaculture business.

Jay DeLong
Olympia, WA
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