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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Author/Editor: N. Sivasothi
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore.

Made with Samizdat,
based on PHPosxom,
based on Blosxom.

05 Jul 2007 - Raffles Museum News has shifted to http://news.rafflesmuseum.net

Sat 18 Nov 2006

"Perak fish" - a new Paedocypris sp.?

Category : southeastasia

"Upbeat over 'Perak fish' find." By Audrey Dermawan.
The New Straits Times, 15 Nov 2006.

GEORGE TOWN: Biggest is not always best, sometimes the smallest can be a source of pride, and a big scientific step forward.

Malaysian scientists have found what may be the second smallest fish in the world.

NST caption - The Perak fish barely makes it past the 10mm mark.
Only one species [Paedocypris progenitica] is smaller.

A team led by Universiti Sains Malaysia's School of Biological Sciences' Associate Professor Khoo Khay Huat here discovered the fish in a peat swamp in Perak last month. They have named it "Perak fish" while awaiting confirmation of its scientific name.

Khoo said the Perak fish measures about 10mm in length and feeds on plankton.

It lives in tea-coloured swamp waters with a pH between four and five.

Japan-based United Nations University's Institute of Advanced Studies director Professor Datuk A.H. Zakri, an active environmentalist for the past 30 years, described USM's find as "very significant", saying that there are an estimated 15 million to 30 million species in the world.

"But scientists have only discovered some 1.75 million to date. This find is certainly something to be very proud of," he said at a news conference yesterday.

"We are very excited about our find," Khoo said.

Scientists from Europe and Singapore discovered the world's tiniest fish -- a species that lives in peat wetlands in Sumatra earlier this year.

The fish is just the size of a large mosquito when fully grown. The record-busting species, Paedocypris progenetica, is a distant cousin of the carp.

Mature female Paedocypris progenetica reach just 7.9mm in length, making them the smallest vertebrates yet identified by a tenth of a millimetre.

Khoo said his team would conduct a comparative study in Sumatra soon to ascertain if the Perak fish and Paedocypris progenetica have any similarities.


Earlier reports of Paedocypris sp.
posted in Raffles Museum News, listed below
You can also search Raffles Museum News to find all reports in future.

  • "Paedocypris - the world's smallest fish and vertebrate!" Raffles Museum News, 25 Jan 2006.
  • Paedocypris progenitica" By Marcus Ng. The annotated budak, 25 Jan 2006.
  • "More on Paedocypris progenitica" By N. Sivasothi. Raffles Museum News, 27 Jan 2006.
  • "So which is the smallest species of fish in the world?" By N. Sivasothi. Raffles Museum News, 02 Feb 2006.
  • "So which is the smallest species of fish in the world? (Part II)" Raffles Museum News, 04 Feb 2006.
  • "Third species of Paedocypris found in Bukit Bauk, Terengganu, Malaysia." Raffles Museum News, 29 May 2006 - New Straits Times report on the Terengganu find.

Posted at 4:38AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Mon 29 May 2006

Third species of Paedocypris found in Bukit Bauk, Terengganu, Malaysia

Category : southeastasia

"Yet another rare fish species find." By Rosli Zakaria. New Straits Times, 27 May 2006. [pdf]

DUNGUN: A third species of the world's smallest fish from the genus Paedocypris has been found in a peat swamp in the foothills of Bukit Bauk urban recreational forest.

Biology lecturer Amirrudin Ahmad of Kolej Universiti Sains [& Teknologi] Malaysia discovered the fish during a three-day scientific expedition in the reserve.

The first freshwater specimen, Paedocypris megamegenthes, was found in Kuching and Bukit Merah, Perak, in 2001. The second, identified as Paedocypris progenitica, was found in Sumatra in 2004.

"This discovery was the highlight of the Bukit Bauk expedition," said Professor Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Mohammad, who led the team. "We are confident this will attract biologists from around the world to do more research on the bio-diversity of Bukit Bauk," he added.

Amirrudin said the new discovery was significant because it was the only undisturbed habitat of this species. "There are still thousands of the fish in that peat swamp. My worry is that this habitat will end up like the one in Bukit Merah, disturbed by the construction of a road that killed all the specimens," he said.

The Bukit Bauk expedition also uncovered many rare herbaceous and plant species, as well as insects, bats and birds. Abdul Latiff said Bukit Bauk was an important gene bank for a variety of herbs and rare plants, including palms and ginger. The expedition ended yesterday.

See also guangming.com.my.

And "Gigantic green lung for Dungun." By K. Suthakar with photos by Victor K.K. Ng. The Star, 22 July 2005.

Thanks to Charles Leh, Sarawak Museum, for the news article, via Tan Heok Hui.

Posted at 10:37AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Tue 28 Mar 2006

30 Mar 2006: 12pm - Kottelat on "2400 years of Ichthyology"

Category : bejc

Meetings of the Biodiversity & Ecology Journal Club, Department of Biological Sciences, NUS

"2400 years of Ichthyology, but an inventory still far from complete."

Maurice Kottelat
Honorary Research Associate,
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research,
National University of Singapore

Host: Tan Heok Hui

Thursday, 30th March 2006
12pm - 2 pm

DBS Conference Room
Blk S3, Level 5,
Dept. Biological Sciences,
National University of Singapore,
Science Drive 4
Visitors may park at Carpark 10; see map

About the talk - '2400 years' alludes to the number of years since the first comprehensive scientific fish work was published by Aristotelis. Very little of similar influence was published until the mid-16th Century. Maurice discusses recent estimates on the total number of fishes, known and unknown, and the basis for these numbers, and discusses why a higher increase of newly discovered species will be revealed in fresh waters rather than marine environments. However, many newly discovered taxa remain undescribed due to a shortage of trained taxonomists and that the publication pace needs to increase for a chance to provide data for management, conservation and research.

About the speaker - Maurice is the world leading authority on the taxonomy of Eurasian freshwater fishes, with a focus on species diversity and classification. He is one of the most experienced field workers in ichthyology and has conducted numerous expeditions particularly in Asia. He ranks as the most influential fish systematist in Europe and is consulted for his expertise on aquatic life in environmental assessments by international funding bodies, including the World Bank.

Maurice is founder and the editor of the quarterly scientific periodical Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters and president of the European Ichthyological Society. He has produced over 220 scientific publications, including eight books some of which cover entire national freshwater fish faunas. His field research resulted in the discovery and/or description of about 440 fish species new to science including the world's smallest vertebrate, Paedocypris progentica.

Synopses derived from The Petrus Artedi Tricentennial Symposium on Systematic Ichthyology where Maurice was honoured as Artedi Lecturer 2005. He is presently on a field trip with Heok Hui!

Posted at 4:18AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Fri 17 Mar 2006

Fishy folk!

Category : visitors

17 Mar 2006 - Venbula Slechtova & Jorg Bohlen from the Laboratory of Fish Genetics, Institute of Animal Physiology, Academy of the Sciebnce, Czech Republic, dropped in for a chat after their field trip to peat swamps in Malaysia. Their new of receeding peat swamps was sad to hear as we had visited these areas in the early 90's when logging was just beginning and they were satoundingly rich sites for fish diversity within an hour or two .

Maurice Kottelat (Honorary Research Assocaite, Raffles Museum) has come for a few weeks of work with Tan Heok Hui and we hope to schedule a seminar on Paedocypris while we have two of the authors on campus.

L-R: Venbula Slechtova, Jorg Bohlen, Maurice Kottelat and Peter Ng chatting after lunch. (Accent marks missing in first two names).

Maurice and Peter earlier this morning. I heard a familiar voice so burst through the door with the camera. Yes it was Maurice, and he quickly rolled his chair behind the desk to hide his sexy legs (he's wearing bermudas). This is not a Coke advert, but lets just say the museum director is mildly addicted to the stuff and always keeps a bottle handy.

Posted at 8:11AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Tue 14 Mar 2006

Semakau badges and Paedocypris t-shirt

Category : education

One day I walked in to the museum to find a new panerl up against the glass window at the office next to the Public Gallery office. The education officers made t-shirts and badges for sale!

The Semakau badges are on sale for $1.50 each, but a set goes for $7. The t-shirts are on sale for $10.50 and come in dark blue and grey. Toddycats and Department of Biological Science staff get a 20% discount.

Pity about the tagline though - its says "one of the world's smallest vertebrate" instead of "smallest vertebrate". Perhaps they were put off by challenges to the title, but Paedocypris progentica is clearly undisputed.

Posted at 3:47PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Sat 11 Mar 2006

Of long-legged flies and false gharials

Category : research

Mr Budak (a.k.a. Marcus Ng) reflects on a paper and a seminar. He penned "A tale of two-pteras" based on Patrick Grotaert's celebratory seminar:

"Dr. Grootaert is no maverick flyboy but he certainly buzzes with enthusiasm when he speaks about his favourite little animals with unreasonably long names. The highlight of his talk, in which he presents an overview of a productive annus mirabilis far from Belgium's gloomy dunes, was dolichopodid or long-legged (dolicho being Greek for long) flies. ...

Grootaert's fascination with Singapore's dolichopodid flies stems not only from his discovery of some 150 new species (including 4 new genera) over his year-long exploration of the island's habitats. There are also many findings that shed new light as well as cast wider shadows on the phylogeny and biogeography of dolichopodids and allied fly families in relation to the geological history of Southeast Asia.

Grootaert's fascination with Singapore's dolichopodid flies stems not only from his discovery of some 150 new species (including 4 new genera) over his year-long exploration of the island's habitats. There are also many findings that shed new light as well as cast wider shadows on the phylogeny and biogeography of dolichopodids and allied fly families in relation to the geological history of Southeast Asia. ...

Malaise traps were set up through the year at the following [several] locales. ... The traps yielded the following results:
Bukit Timah: Taban Valley - 16 species
Sime Forest - 42 species
Nee Soon - 84 species
Sungei Buloh - 1 species
Chek Jawa - 59 species

A rather surprisingly low species count was obtained from Taban Valley. Grootaert offers the probably reasons of habitat disturbance, regular fogging at nearby residential areas and degraded streams. The valley has changed significantly in the 10 years since he first visited it. "In the beginning there were a lot of huge trees and not much ground vegetation," he recalled. But now it has become a secondary forest and some streams have dried up."


And then he writes about "The fate of the false gharial" based on the paper, R. B. Stuebing, M. R. Bezuijen, M. Auliya & H. K. Voris, 2006. The current and historic distribution of Tomistoma schlegelii (The False Gharial) (Môller, 1838) (Crocodylia, Reptilia). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 54(1): 181-197:

"The salties' cousin, the false gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii), faces a rather less certain future. This crocodilian ranks as another true giant, attaining a length of about 5 metres. ... Its relatively slender jaws (which resembles those of the true gharial, Gavialis gangeticus) from India) are built for capturing fish and other aquatic creatures whole, rather than ripping into the flesh of terrestrial vertebrates.

Studies on the ecology and distribution of false gharials are as scarce as the animals themselves, so a newly-published paper by Robert B. Stuebing et al. in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology offers a valuable status report on this little-known giant. ...

In present day Southeast Asia, the species' populations are fragmented and appear to be largely confined to a region about 5 degrees north and south of the equator. The authors write that populations in Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia are under heavy pressure from burgeoning human populations and land development, leaving Sarawak and Kalimantan as the species' last stronghold. ... Echoing the discoverers of Paedocypris progenetica, the paper highlights the sad plight of the region's peat swamps. Less than 50% of Borneo's peatlands, for instance, remain intact, as a result of logging, swamp reclamation and forest fires.""


Thanks Marcus!

Posted at 4:04PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Sat 04 Feb 2006

So which is the smallest species of fish in the world? (Part II)

Category : pub

Following a suggestion of Maurice Kottelat, Ralf Britz put together a male and female Photocorynus spiniceps (left) and Paedocypris progenetica (right) to drive the point home that the latter is the smallest species.

He suggested, "Have a look. Ask around which one is the smallest!"

Maurice Kottelat opined, "A picture says more than 1000 words," obviously in reference to my verbose post. Sigh!

For all Raffles Museum News posts about the world's smallest fish, click here.

Posted at 1:13AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Thu 02 Feb 2006

So which is the smallest species of fish in the world?

Category : pub

02 Feb 2006 - Updated with comments from Maurice Kottelat and extracts from a news@nature.com post and the original paper. 31 Jan 2006 title of "A parasitic male anglerfish that's even smaller!" is now a subheading.

A parasitic male anglerfish that's even smaller!

Days after the flurry of reports about Paedocypris progenetica, world's smallest species of fish and vertebrate reached the world, a press release by the University of Washington (27 Jan 2006) brought attention to a 2005 paper that describes a 6.2mm sexually mature parasitic male anglerfish, Photocorynus spiniceps, attached to the back of a 46mm female. This claim to the world's smallest fish and vertebrate was listed in a review paper by T. W. Pietsch (see below).

The 6.2 mm long male Photocorynus spiniceps with the claim to the world's smallest vertebrate,
was fused to the middle of the back of a 46 mm long female. Photo by T.W. Pietsch.

Photocorynus spiniceps, parasitic male, 7.4mm, attached to a 46-mm female,
ZMUC P92133 (after Bertelsen, 1951) - (fig. 9E in Pietsch, 2005).

'Five of the 11 families of anglerfish exhibit sexual parasitism in which the much smaller males fuse for life with their mates by biting onto the sides, backs or bellies of a female. An attached male (2-8 in some species!) essentially turns the female into a hermaphrodite, providing her with the ability to reproduce while derives his nutrition from the female. The 6.2 mm male, for instance, has testes so huge they nearly fill his entire body cavity, crowding his other internal organs.'

This is fascinating reading and you should download and read the review paper. [Pietsch, T.W., 2005. Dimorphism, parastitism, and sex revisited: Modes of reproduction among deep-sea ceratioid anglerfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes). Ichthyological Research, 52(33): 207-236.]

How was this paper overlooked?

The anglerfish paper was published in the September 2005 issue of Ichthyological Research which takes time to reach libraries. Meanwhile, the peat swamp fish paper, originally written in December 2004, was submitted, reviewed and accepted during that period.

Wait a minute, does smallest fish = smallest species?

Can the parasitic male alone claim record for an entire species? The females are much larger, and well above the list of contenders for smallest species. How does one define a small fish anyway? Maurice Kottelat had this to say:

"When we talk about small fish or vertebrate, we talk about species. E.g. In our paper, each time we use 'smallest' it is a relation with a species' name not with a specimen. [Read the discussion there on miniature fishes that begins, "A number of fish species discovered over the past few years have maximal known sizes ranging from 8.0 to 15.0 mm ... ].

Our paper discuss miniature fishes, for which there is a definition set by Weitzman & Vari (1988) Weitzman, S. H. & Vari, R. P. 1988. Miniaturization in South American freshwater fishes; an overview and discussion. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., 101: 444-465. The definition has to do with species which reproduce below 20 mm, or if reproduction data are not available, species less than 26 mm.

Since Photocorynus spiniceps does not reproduce below the 20 mm threshold, and unless it is demonstrated that the female is mature below that size, it is not a miniature species."

So who's the smallest fish in the world?

Meet Paedocypris progenetica, smallest fish and vertebrate organism in the world. Yes its time to reiterate the announcement from last week. The discussion was convincing enough and the claim holds. Paedocypris progenetica appears to regain its record-holding position.

Some reports that covered the latest discussion appear in: news.telegraph, BBC News and news@nature.com; see also Google Alerts (not as widely covered as the original, but a lot more puns this time!)

Interestingly, when news@nature.com got a third party involved, he provided a alternative viewpoint (more appropriately described as a sucker punch); see: "Fish fight breaks out over tiny catch." By Michael Hopkin. news@Nature.com, 31 Jan 2006.

"Salamanders are the smallest vertebrates - there's not even any question," says David Wake of the University of California, Berkeley.

These amphibians are typically at least several centimetres long. But that is tiny in relation to the size of their genome, Wake points out. Of the 500 different salamander species, many have well over ten times as much genetic material in each cell as humans do. This makes for big, cumbersome cells, which means that adopting a complex body form is more of an achievement given the same body size, Wake argues.

"I'm always surprised that biologists who want to make sophisticated arguments resort to using a metre stick," he says. "It's not just millimetres that count - it's how you use those millimetres.""


Just as well the taxonomists aren't too heated up about the debate; after all there are a lot more fish in the ocean (and streams) and if habitats don't disappear, the enthusiastic work of taxonomists and systematists may reveal further claims to the title of the world's smallest fish.

"Even Ted Pietsch, the the University of Washington fish expert behind the harrumphing, says there's no sense in quibbling over the "smallest" title: "There are always difficulties in talking about the smallest - would that be length, volume or weight - the debate goes round and round." - "Big flap over smallest fish." By Alan Boyle. MSNBC Cosmic Log, 30 Jan 2006.

Records of the world's smallest fish and vertebrates

My curiosity was aroused - which other species of fish were earlier contenders for the title of the smallest vertebrate, where were they from and what ecosystems did they inhabit?

So I did a bit of googling. Deep water parasitic male angler fish, marine and brackish-water gobies and freshwater cyprinids - all smaller than shrimp and many insects! Unmaginable! Aquarists are busy joking about how these fish will choke their filters and more jokes about the fish that got away. Sigh.

For the record, the largest fish in the world is the plankton-eating Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus). Due to a demand for its fins, trade in its parts is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). The species is listed as "vulnerable" in the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

  • 1981 - 8mm Trimmatom nanus (Dwarf Goby) female with 'fully developed eggs', from Indo-West Pacific coral reefs. Ref: Winterbottom, R. & Emery, A. R., 1981. A new genus and two new species of gobiid fishes (Perciformes) from the Chagos Archipelago, Central Indian Ocean. Environ. Biol. Fish. 6, 139-149. See page on Australian Museum Fish Site.
  • 1927 - 9mm Pandaka pygmaea (Dwarf Pygmy Goby) from mangrove and brackish waters in The Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore. Ref: Herre, A. W. C. T., 1927. Gobies of the Philippines and the China Sea. Monograph of the Bureau of Science, Manila: 1-352. See species summary in FishBase. IUCN Redlist - Critically endangered.
  • 2004 - 8.4mm Schindleria brevipinguis (Stout Infantfish) gravid female from the Lizard Island area, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia; holotype collected in 1982. Ref: Watson, W. & H.J. Walker Jr., 2004. The world's smallest vertebrate, Schindleria brevipinguis, a new paedomorphic species in the family Schindleriidae (Perciformes: Gobioidei). Records of the Australian Museum. 56(2): 139-142. See Australian Museum Fish Site.
  • 2005 - 6.2mm Photocorynus spiniceps male with ripe testes. Specimen was collected in deep waters off The Philippines. Ref: Pietsch, T.W., 2005. Dimorphism, parastitism, and sex revisited: Modes of reproduction among deep-sea ceratioid anglerfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes). Ichthyological Research, 52(33): 207-236. Pdf of paper available for download at University of Washington Fish Collection. A1925 paper by Regan refers to a 7.3mm 'attached male' of the same species (listed in Pietsch's review) but I do not know if this was a sexually mature fish. If it was, it would have set the record that year to be eclipsed only in 2005. Ref: Regan CT (1925). Dwarfed males parasitic on the females in oceanic angler-fishes (Pediculati, Ceratioidea). Proc. R. Soc. Lond., B, 97:386-400.
  • 2006 - 7.9mm Paedocypris progenetica female with ripe eggs, from the peat swamp forests of Jambi, Sumatra; first encountered in 1996. Also, with ripe eggs, the 8.8mm Paedocypris micromegethes. Ref: Kottelat, M., R. Britz, Tan. H. H. & K-E. Witte, 2006. Paedocypris, a new genus of Southeast Asian cyprinid fish with a remarkable sexual dimorphism, comprises the world's smallest vertebrate. Proc. R. Soc. B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3419. Paper available for download now.

Note that if you read the original papers, the size ranges provided for the entire material examined may include immatures. You have to look for statements about sexually mature individuals.

It was interesting to note that in many records, the point of actual collection, discovery and publication took between a few years to a couple of decades. A phenomenal diversity awaits the work of scientists, and this time lag highlights a fundamental role that museums serve in preserving, cataloguing, maintaining and holding expedition specimens until they can be described.

I am now wondering, will anything even smaller turn up next? Something even more incredible that we can hardly fathom? Or has it been wiped off the face of the earth already, and their habitats along with it?

Ralf Britz had this to say (Natural History Museum webpage, 01 Feb 2006):

"The whole exchange is quite amusing and in the end, what is really important is that we appreciate that there are still many areas on this globe that are unexplored, containing vast numbers of new species, among them very unusual ones that need to be discovered and their biology and anatomy explored."

"For some habitats we are facing a race against time, because they disappear faster than we can survey them."

One of the peat swamp habitats in Jambi, Sumatra,
host to Paedocypris progenetica.
Here today, gone tomorrow?

Posted at 3:30AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Sun 29 Jan 2006

More on Paedocypris progenetica

Category : pub

27 Jan 2006 - Hours after the wire article about Paedocypris progenetica was released on 25 Jan 2006, more than 200 webpages and agencies around the world picked up the story, including the Singapore and Malaysian press [CNA - Straits Times - The Star] and blogs like Tomorrow.sg and Pharyngula.

Since there is a great curiosity about the fish, I asked Tan Heok Hui, one of the co-authors of the Paedocypris paper for the images they released to the press.

Heok Hui is a Research Officer at the Raffles Museum. Amongst other things, he is well known as a fighting fish expert, having discovered more than half the existing species through expeditions.

Our director Peter Ng calls him "Singapore's Indiana Jones" for his enthusiastic work in the depths of jungles in Thailand, Borneo, Java, Sumatra and Malaysia.

Meanwhile a very amused Maurice in Switzerland has been sending us links from coverage there - tsr (tv)

Down at Heok Hui's lab, I looked at the fish darting about in the tank. I understood why they initially dismissed these as fish fry - the fish fit the part! Eventually it was the females bearing eggs that led to the realisation that this was a really small fish! And it is a 7.9mm female that holds the record. Heok Hui clarified that the reddish-bellies of the live fish were simply a sign they had just been fed and not to mistake that for body pigmentation!

The fish are available in the aquarium trade and there are enthusiasts all over the world who rear such blackwater fish, fully aware that they may become all but extinct in the near future.

The threatened peat swamp forests of Southeast Asia

My early years in Peter's lab, in between looking for some rather elusive otters, was spent in explorations of Malaysia's peat swamps. It was a real eye-opener for me to find a thriving diversity of colurful small fish emerge in the dark-colured but clear acidic waters. And the dawning and distressing realisation that most people were unaware about the existence of this rich ecosystem.

And diverse it was -

"The pH of such swamp waters can be as low as 3 -- about the same as vinegar. "Until recently, peat swamps were assumed to be hostile, acidic places where the biodiversity was low. But that's because no one had actually jumped in."

After taking the plunge into numerous swamps on the Malay Peninsula and the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, [Peter] Ng's team has found some 80 fish new to science, bringing the estimate of the total number of species in the swamps to 200Đ300. "My students say they have too much to study," he says. A high proportion of the species are exclusive to the peat-swamp environment." - link

In the years that followed, however, most of these places simply disappeared. Large tracts of peat swamp forest were loggged, even as new records and species were being discovered. See:

  • Peter Ng, J. B. Tay, & K. K. P. Lim, 1994. Diversity and conservation of blackwater fishes in Peninsular Malaysia, particularly in the North Selangor peat swamp forest. Hydrobiologia, 285 (1-3): 203 - 218. DOI: 10.1007/BF00005667 - link.
  • Peter Ng, 1998. "Peat Swamp fishes of Southeast Asia - Diversity Under Threat." - link.
  • Peter Ng & Tan Heok Hui, 1997. "Freshwater Fishes of Southeast Asia - Potential for the Aquarium Fish Trade and Conservation Issues." - article link, journal link.

And the logging and draining of peat swamps appear to have escalated the annual forest fires that began to plague the region in the late 80's:

"Some 800,000ha of forest and plantations burned in Indonesia last month. But it wasn't just any forest. It was peat swamp forest, in particular. At the same time, some 160ha of peat forest was also ablaze in Kampung Penadah, Pekan, in Pahang. It took two weeks for the firemen to douse the flames.

There is a pattern in these fires, say wetlands experts. Peat swamp infernos have become more common in this region in recent years, according to Faizal Parish, executive director of conservation group Wetlands International Asia Pacific.

"This was not the case up until 10 years ago," he says. The advent of peat swamp fires, he adds, parallels logging and draining of water from peat swamps.

- "Vital to save peat swamps." By Tan Cheng Li. The Star, The Star, 11 Nov 1997 - link.

Singapore's loss of biodiversity seems to be a forecast for a similarly catastrophic loss of biodiversity in Southeast Asia. Will any of the lessons learnt translate into solutions?

I can only hope that this brief media interest will help highlight existing efforts of individuals and agencies attempting to promote the conservation of these marvels of biodiversity that ultimately affect the environmental health of this planet.

See also Navjot S. Sodhi & Barry W. Brook, 2005. "Southeast Asian Biodiversity in Crisis." Cambridge Tropical Biology Series, 192 pp.

Updated, 29 Jan 2006 - one irrelevant link removed.

Posted at 11:28AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

Fri 27 Jan 2006

Mr Budak on Paedocypris progenetica

Category : pub

Marcus Ng (a.k.a. Mr Budak) writes about Paedocypris progenetica on his blog site, "The annotated budak."

He is a prolific writer and started this blog in 2004. One of his first posts was the republished article, "We are not alone!" about biodiversity and the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

It was originally published in Aquatic Quotient in Nov 2003 where he is still active - he posted news of the Paedocypris progenetica discovery there quite early.

A subscriber of Ecotax, he attends research seminars at NUS when he can and recently wrote up Kristina Zitzler's talk as "Shrimps in Sulawesi: A biogeographical survey" (03 Nov 2005).

Posted at 11:32AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,

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