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Mutants (was Re: KillieTalk Digest V2 #1278)
John Aikman wrote:
> What is the right attitude to 'sports'?
Depends on *your* goals.
If you wish to keep the strain pure wild, you might either ignore it or cull
it. If you are doing species maintenance and are sure it is a mutation, you
If you want to show it, and win a trophy, you might line breed it (e.g., to
his daughters) to fix an attractive trait, and establish it as a new
> Given the somewhat purist approach to genetics expressed by some members of
> the list what do they do when a colour variation appears in the midst of
> their broods, jump for joy or bump it off? I have a Xiphophophorus heleri
> wild-type male (i.e. green) with a bright red sword. For all I know this is
> a common thing (I'm sure someone will tell me) but I've never seen it before
> and it is quite striking. Should I isolate him and try to breed from him?
> Any opinions and previous examples gladly received.
Swordtail species are not quite as diversified as killies. We have such a
huge number of wild killy strains (species, actually) being maintained in
the hobby that the desirability of selecting for and perfecting another new
variety is a bit less than in some other kinds of fish. [OTOH, very few keep
wild *helleri* stock.]
In goldfish and *Betta splendens* (as well as swordtails and platys to a
lesser extent), essentially all the stock is "improved" from the wild as
there is no true wild strain left in the hobby (or probably in the wild, in
some species). In those examples, the entire breeding effort may properly go
to discovering and perfecting some new mutant.
Probably you will please the most killifish fanciers if you restrain
yourself about breeding a new mutant. Nevertheless, there are quite a few
who bid high at club auctions on the *least* wild forms, so use your own
judgement. Label a selected strain as such though, so it doesn't get mixed
back into and ruin wild-type species-maintenance fish.
BTW, I once had wild-caught *X. helleri* from Belize that were
indistinguishable from what were labelled "Pineapple Swordtails" at my LFS.
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntleyone at home dot com
"DEMOCRACY" is two wolves and a lamb voting on lunch.
"LIBERTY" is a well-armed lamb denying enforcement of the vote.
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