The rarest fish in the world

Well, this is the one title, you absolutely don't want to get in case of being a fish. Being on a Goodeid Website, you can imagine, that this doubtful prize belongs this year to a Goodeid species. It is one species, having been overlooked by breeding programs in order of being not very popular and by thinking of being in not so dramatic danger at all. Sometimes, it lookes like this species of fish is not very much liked from above or has simply bad luck. Its name is Allodontichthys polylepis.

Me personally, I came into contact with this species in 2000, getting surplus from Herbert Stefan (Austria), who got this species from Alfred Radda in 1987, who collected this fish in the Río Potrero Grande. I bred this fish for several years and spread it throughout Europe, but unfortunately, most of the people hadn't been lucky enough to breed them for a long time. In 2007, Herbert Stefan lost his fish and mine went to Hungary in 2008, where they disapeared soon thereafter. About the same time, I heard, that this species hasn' t been found in the type habitat for several years, together with the second species distributed there, Allotoca goslinei. In the same year, I have been told of a second locality, and of fish being bred in the Aqualab and being introduced in a seminatural habitat (an artificial pond) in the botanical garden of Morelia. But now, 3 years later, it looks like they have not been able to survive there.  

Last year, Kees de Jong offered me to give me his last fish, being the last ones from the old strain from the type location. We fixed the 2nd Meeting of the GWG for exchanging the fish. Now this October, during this meeting, I have been lucky to see this species again after three years, all in all 2 males and 6 females.

Talking to Omar Domínguez, he told me, that "his" population (being the last living specimens in México!), are the sons and daugthers of only one female, being few in number. All in all, he estimated, we have together "not very much more than 20 specimens", coming from 2 locations. Well, nothing that makes me sleep well...It isn't easy to have the responibility to save a species, but in the end, that's why we have started the GWG, that' s our basic purpose!

I took the 8 fish from Pont L' Eveque to Vienna by train, withstanding an emergency break, when I thought in one second to be in place when a species is nearly dying out, but finally, they all reached Vienna in healthy condition. Our next steps will be to save this population for the future, breed them and distribute the surplus among our best breeders. Hopefully we will be able to reintroduce this species in a couple of years, when we have increased number. Therefore, I estimate, we will need about at least 400 or 500 specimens to do so; knowing about numbers of fry in Goodeids, I presume, it will take us 5 to 7 years. Nevertheless, it is the existence of the GWG, that made it possible to detect the fish and find out about its rareness. It is us, our will to talk to each other and to cooperate in one purpose, that gives us now the chance to save this one tiny fish for the next generation.