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"Wild Type" My Opinion

Discussion in 'Aquarium Equipment & Decor' started by Elapid, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. Elapid

    Elapid Thread Starter New Member

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    Over in the Live Bearers Forum there’s a fascinating thread about Endler’s Live Bearers with excellent information about these fish. A couple of comments on the thread about this fish’s possible endangered status in the wild and keeping “wild type” ostensibly as a hedge to preserve the species caught my attention.

    Over the years I’ve heard or read the term “wild type” used to describe other captive bred species and not just fish. In extreme cases this idea extends to “locality specific” animals being kept pure for the type found in relatively small defined geographic location. For some, keeping strains of “wild type” animals is an obsession. With these folk selective breeding is barely acceptable, crossing strains is a no-no and hybridizing is a mortal sin.

    I don’t see a thing wrong with the practice of keeping pure lines from wild caught specimens but the term “wild type” and the logic behind a hobby aquarist preserving a species, sub-species or local form from extinction in the wild escapes me.

    The way I see it is when one animal is removed from a population in the wild, the genes that animal carries are also removed from that population forever. It took countless generations for that animal’s genome to evolve responding to the various stresses of its natural environment. Keeping Endler's Live Bearers in mind, unless a decent cross section of wild caught fish are kept in conditions near identical to the original habitat the term “wild type” is meaningless with captive bred fish.

    The first captive bred generation of ELBs from wild caught parents is the start an aquarium strain and there is no practical way around this. Selectively bred strains from second generation and beyond captive bred fish takes the term “aquarium strain” to an entirely new level. Many ELBs may be pure bred from wild ancestors but they are not “wild type”. Even pure bred ELBs whose appearance (phenotype) is similar to wild caught specimens can be significantly different genetically (genotype) from wild caught fish. This change in genotype happens very quickly in the aquarium with fish as prolific as the ELB.

    I’ve read the original ELB habitat in Venezuela may be on the verge of destruction. If that habitat is lost and all wild ELB’s disappear it might be possible to re-introduce our pure strains of captive ELBs back into their original but restored habitat. That’s a good thing but it’s certain these will be different fish than what was there originally no matter how "pure" they might be.

    I keep 2 groups of “N” class (genetically pure from wild caught) ELBs because I enjoy them and there’s a certain satisfaction knowing they are descendants from original wild caught specimens. One group has been selectively bred (by another fancier) for well developed bottom sword tails and nice matching color pattern with both traits about 90% fixed. The other group is much more varied without any fixed traits. I have no illusion of fish from either group being wild type.

    Some will disagree but that’s my 2 cents worth. I’d like to hear other opinions on the term “wild type” in relation to any type of fish.

    Elapid

    Ps. Though I choose not to do it, my opinion is there’s not a thing wrong with hybridizing aquarium fish as long as the results are healthy animals. I’ve seen some very nice looking Endler Hybrids that some people enjo them.

     
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  2. williemcd

    williemcd New Member

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    Elapid.. Spot on with your Wild caught but don't ya think that the tank strain, if re-introduced into the wild would revert to the strain in time.. and in the case of Endlers quite quickly due to their prolific breeding?
     
  3. williemcd

    williemcd New Member

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    Oh, I've a fish-friend that's a fanatic with Lake Victoria specimens.. Care program and all and I think he'd debate ya about hybridization.
     
  4. HBIC

    HBIC Need help??? That's what we're here for :)

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    Hybridization is a tricky thing that to me has no right or wrong answer, what may work for one may not work for another (as with many things in the hobby). I am however a proponent of aquarists keeping fish whose habitats have been destroyed so as to not let them go extinct.
     
  5. williemcd

    williemcd New Member

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    The most abhorant behavior seems to be coming from overseas where fish are scratched and dyed, or betta's kept in "purses".. It seems to be a thing that the Asian community looks for.
     
  6. Elapid

    Elapid Thread Starter New Member

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    I don't know. I'm not sure anyone does. It's possible maybe even probable. I've seen guppies thriving in the wild in Hawaii but that doesn't mean much if anything. There have been many instances of attempts to reintroduce fish back into their natural habitats. Some have been successful but there are many more failures. There are so many factors to consider and I'm no authority on Endlers - far from it. Unfortunately, by the way things look right now we might get the chance to find out. If so, the only source of raw material is swimming in our tanks. Elapid
     
  7. Elapid

    Elapid Thread Starter New Member

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    Debating is fine as long as there's no "make wrong" in the agenda. Lake Victoria is a huge body of water with many interesting fish. I assume your friend keeps African ciclids? If so he/she belongs to a large group of like minded enthusiasts with strong points of veiw. Elapid
     
  8. Elapid

    Elapid Thread Starter New Member

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    Cool breeze! Elapid
     
  9. Elapid

    Elapid Thread Starter New Member

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    I think I know where you are coming from and I tend to agree except for the "Asian" part. Many cultures have customs and traditions you and I might not agree with and not all are Asian. I'm old enough to remember cute live chicks dyed brightly in all colors being sold every Easter and Anole lizards with collars and leashes hanging by their necks from sticks being hawked as "cameleons" at county fairs and box turtles with old dates carved into their shells as proof of antique age and baby sliders being sold with a little can of dried "ant eggs" for food and much more and all in the USA. All of these animals suffered and most died soon after going home with their new owners. Pretty "abhorent" wouldn't you say? I've lived in Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand and I've witnessed some weird things but none worse than this being done only for the sake of amusement and a quick buck. People are people and they do what they do to get by regardless of where on this planet they come from and most of all people change. All sorts of folk buy dyed fish and genetically engineered fish and fish in little bottles in the USA. It's not just an "Asian" thing. Sorry about the rant. It's not meant to be aimed at you. Like I said, I think I know where you're coming from. Elapid
     
  10. Elapid

    Elapid Thread Starter New Member

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    I think everyone’s opinion on this thread is a valid one. They are only opinions right? Other than advocating keeping or treating fish in ways that causes harm regardless of intentions, how can one opinion be more or less legitimate than another? There’s nothing wrong with debate and discussion about differing opinions and ideas in fact this makes our activity more interesting. Unfortunately some will “know best” about these things and think less about anyone who is not like minded. And that’s too bad. For most of us fish keeping is an interest or hobby we derive pleasure from not a profession with strict responsibilities and duties. If you prefer creating strains or hybridizing or keeping fish as true to wild as possible I say have at it and enjoy! Elapid