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Discussion on Mexican fish

jwiegert at nexus_v-wave.com (Josh Wiegert) wrote:

<< North American Native Fishes are usually regarded at their elementary
level as coldwater fishes in North Ameria naturally.  Mexico, although in
North America, is not cold water.  The border simply provides a convienent
place to draw the line for 'tropical fish' and 'coldwater fish'.  >>

This is a definition I have never heard of, and I have been in the hobby since

The following statement appears on the home page of the North American Native
Fishes Association:

<<The North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA) serves to brings
professional and amateur aquarists, educators, students, fishers, fish and
wildlife officials, and researchers-- anyone with an interest in the
conservation, collection, study, and aquaristic appreciation of the native
fishes of North America; and to assemble and distribute information on native
fishes. We invite you to spend some time learning about us, so enjoy your

Further, on the information resources page, one of the first NANFA document
cited is:

<<Endangered, Threatened, and Special Status Fishes of North America; Fourth
Edition contains Federal, State and Provincial listings for the US, Canada and
Mexico. >>

So it looks like NANFA, at least, considers Mexico part of North America.

Later on, Mr. Wiegert stated:

<<If not, then questions about commmon pet shop fishes, such as Cichlids,
livebearers, and some tetras would show up on the lists and such.  So
although technical a mexican fish is a north american fish, its not
regarded as NANF> Obviously, there are some exceptions, and judgement
prevails.  For isntance, many Herichthys sp. live in Texas, which is not
part of Mexico :-).  Discussion of them would probably not be allowed on a
lot of lists.  So what it comes down to is a judgement call.  Basically,
I've made a rule for this that I always keep in mind.  If its something
you canf ind it regularly in a pet ship, its not NANF.  >>

Well, this sounds like a complicated approach to a simple question.  It seems
to smack of snobbery to say that if a fish is available through general
commercial channels, it's not treated as a North American Native Fish.  What?
Since when does that have anything to do with it?

For many years, Jordanella floridai was a common fish in pet shops.  It is no
longer found in many of them, due to a lack of interest.  Does its status
change because of that?  Back in the late 1970's Fundulus chrysotus was
available in a number of pet stores, especially in the Chicago area (where I
owned a store).  Were they not a proper NANF then and are now?

I have seen a number of Gambusia species in local fish stores recently.  Are
these fish no longer "proper" NANF?

This argument also applies to some of the Goodeids, such as Xenotoca Eiseni.

Besides the Florida Flag Fish and several species of pupfish, there is at
least one Ruvulus found in Mexico.  The American Killifish Association
(www.aka.org) states:

<<Rivulus is the largest genus of New World killifish (with over seventy
species) and has the largest range of any killifish genus. Representatives are
found as far north as Veracruz, Mexico (R. tenuis) and as far south as
Argentina (R. punctatus); from isolated Andean mountain valleys (R. derhami)
to the coastal mangroves of the Atlantic and Caribbean (R. ocellatus). Endemic
species are also found in the Greater (R. cylindraceus)  and Lesser Antilles
(R. cryptocallus). Most species are top spawning killies that lay their large
(1.5-2.0 mm) eggs near the top of artificial spawning mops. Indeed, if given
the opportunity, many species will jump onto spawning platforms of styrofoam-
supported spawning mops and lay their eggs out of the water!>>

The North American Native Fishes Association has a rather unique place in the
hobby.  Most of the large organizations deal with a specific family or type of
fish (killies, livebearers, cichlids) or more narrowly a specific species
(bettas, etc...) without regard to commercial availability or geographic
dispersion.  NANFA attempts to deal with the entire body of fishes located in
North America, and I believe any attempt to exclude native species on any
arbitrary grounds such as availability in the hobby or whether or not a fish
is found in a particular climatic zone within the continent is not defensible
on any scientific or rational grounds.

Larry Tagrin