Melanotaenia bowmani. Credit: Petr Sramek

Endangered Rainbowfish Successfully Bred At Brno Zoo

A severely endangered species of fish, Bowman’s rainbowfish (Melanotaenia bowmani), native to a small part of the island of New Guinea, has been successfully bred recently at Brno Zoo.

Rainbowfish are characterised by their often colourful appearance and by sexual dimorphism: males are larger and more vividly coloured, especially during the spawning season. Many species still have not been described, and it’s unfortunately highly likely that some species became extinct before they could even be discovered.

Brno is the only zoo in Europe that hosts this peculiar species, whose survival is critically endangered by mining and quarrying activities in its native habitat. 

“It is possible that the species will become extinct in nature, as it has already happened to several species of fish, and not only on this island,” said Petr Šrámek, the zoo’s curator of reptiles and fish. “Breeding under human care is therefore extremely valuable and important, because in the future it could serve as the only ark of the species.” 

It is the first time this species has been successfully bred at Brno Zoo; the young fries, no more than a centimetre in length, are now being kept in a special isolated aquarium.

“The young grow relatively slowly, so it is a long-term, demanding, and painstaking job to preserve individuals to adulthood. But we have experienced breeders and I believe we can handle it,” explained Šrámek.

“There are a lot of species that need to be protected and each has its own importance. The reproduction of every critically endangered species is therefore very important,” stressed Radana Dungelová, director of Brno Zoo.

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