Monday, October 17, 2016

What’s in a Name: The Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata)

Kelcee L. Smith
M.Sc. Student
Lousiana State University

Interested Person: “Sawfish? … Oh! You mean swordfish?!”
Me: *** Shakes head***
Me: “No, I mean SAW-fish.”
Interested Person: “Oh yeah! I see fish all the time.”
Me: ***Face Palm***

As silly as this sounds, this is often the conversation I have with people about Sawfish. At this point in the conversation, I usually pull out my handy Sawfish figurine, which most times bridges the gap in the misunderstanding. Get your own Sawfish figurine here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fishes in Ditches: Ongoing non-native fish research in the Tampa Bay area

By: Katie Lawson
PhD Student
University of Florida

The Tampa Bay area is home to many ornamental aquaculture facilities. While these farms maintain excellent compliance with the Best Management Practices required for licensure by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Tuckett et al. 2016), fish do occasionally escape (Tuckett et al. in press). The county ditches of the Tampa Bay area are not the most glamourous habitats to sample, but we have learned and seen some interesting things while studying them. Although we have seen a variety of ornamental fishes in ditches on and around farms, very few of those species are found farther away from farm effluents. Non-native fishes we have commonly found in ditches farther away from farms include green swordtail Xiphophorus hellerii, southern platyfish Xiphophorus maculatus, pike killifish Belonesox belizanus, Jack Dempsey Rocio octofasciata, and African jewel cichlid Hemichromis letourneuxi.

Clockwise from top left: Green Swordtail Southern Platyfish, African Jewel Cichlid, Jack Dempsey, Pike Killifish
All pictures courtesy of TAL staff

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Satisfying the Demand for Dorys: UF Tropical Aquaculture Lab Successfully Breeds Pacific Blue Tang in Captivity

Satisfying the Demand for Dorys: UF Tropical Aquaculture Lab Successfully Breeds Pacific Blue Tang in Captivity

            A major breakthrough in saltwater aquarium fish reproduction took place at the UF Tropical Aquaculture Lab in July, as Rising Tide Conservation announced that for the first time, Paracanthurus hepatus, widely known as the Pacific blue tang or “Dory,” was successfully bred in captivity.

            Working in conjunction with the Oceanic Institute, which pioneered captive reproduction of the yellow tang just last year, Rising Tide Conservation and the UF Tropical Aquaculture Lab replicated and applied similar methods to crack the code for breeding and raising blue tang in captivity.

The significance of this breakthrough is apparent given the surge in demand for Pacific blue tang expected following the release of the Disney-Pixar movie “Finding Dory” on June 17, 2016. The animated hit movie has generated over $800 million at the box office, raising concern over the exploitation of real-life Dorys, the Pacific blue tang, a highly valued reef fish found throughout the Indo-Pacific.