The little fish hit the headlines today, in WWF’s press release on their report on species described from South East Asia in 2009. Although the cover honours a radically crimson dracula fish (Danionella dracula), page 11 is devoted to Danio tinwini, subject of a longer treatise in this irregular blog.
Of course there are other rare or spectacular things in that report which is well worth downloading. WWF has counted 145 new species as described from what they call the Greater Mekong area. Twenty-six species are fish, four of them from my lab:
- Danio aesculapii Kullander & Fang
- Danio quagga Kullander, Liao & Fang
- Danio tinwini Kullander & Fang
- Devario xyrops Fang & Kullander
Of course, it is nice of WWF to highlight the species diversity in the region, and there may very well be another 26 species described every year, on and on. It is also welcome that WWF and others are putting funds and energy into conservation efforts of critical areas or whole ecosystems. This work is badly needed; every living thing in the tropics is at risk, and a greater risk every day. It is unfortunate, however, that practically all those discoveries are done with a minimum of funding only, or just out of devotion. Taxonomy and discovery is underfunded. Where is the money for the discovery, description, and mapping of all the unknown biodiversity?
On October 18, FishBase Sweden organises its annual Symposium. This time the theme is discovery. The importance of exploring new areas, and discovering new species and analysing the evolutionary history of those life forms. The programme is available from the FishBase Sweden website.