First ever footage of smalleye stingray (Dasyatis microps).
My postdoc was spent looking at hybridization between humpback (Gila cypha, above) and roundtail (G. robusta) chub in the Colorado river system (see here for a publication that stemmed from that – perhaps sometime I’ll post on that work). My fieldwork was at the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers where we’d capture, measure, tag & photo the fish. Thus, I’m happy to report the following:
The humpback chub, a closely watched indicator of the Grand Canyon’s ecological health, has grown steadily in number since 2001 as changing conditions on the Colorado River have created a more hospitable habitat.
The population of the endangered fish grew by 50 percent over the past eight years, the U.S. Geological Survey reported Monday. By the end of last year, there were an estimated 7,650 adult chub, fish at least 4 years old, near the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers. That’s up from about 4,000 fish as recently as 2000.
Back in October, Afarensis introduced us to the Douc langur (Pygathrix nemaeus), and noted that the species was comprised of three subspecies, one of which was the grey-shanked douc langur (P. n. cinerea). That subspecies is one of the 25 rarest primates in the world and fewer that 1000 individuals were believed to exist in Vietnam. Encouragingly, AFP is reporting that a new population of at least 116 individuals (and perhaps 180) has been discovered in Quang Nam province. Scientists believe that any more individuals may live in the surrounding un-surveyed forest.
My post-doctoral research was in hybridization among endangered desert fishes here in the American Southwest, so it has made me happy to read that a new population of the endangered Desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius, above) has mysteriously appeared in man-made research ponds in Salton Sea, California. Many of the over 1000 specimens are juveniles, which has lead scientists to infer that substantial breeding is going on in the ponds.
The old story goes that JBS Haldane felt that God had an inordinate fondness for beetles. It also seems he likes catfish. CJ Ferraris has produced a checklist of fossil and living catfishes and estimated that there are 3093 valid species in 478 genera (and 36 families). Of these 72 species are known solely from fossils. No one who knows catfishes will be surprised that the largest family is the Loricariidae (716 species in 96 genera), but interestingly, three genera of living catfishes could not be assigned to existing families: Conorhynchos and Phreatobius from South America, and Horabagrus from Asia.
Update: Fixed dumb homonym mistake. Sheech!