28 April 2009

If you want to say Marmorkrebs in Japanese


At least, I can only assume that says either “Marmorkrebs” or “marbled crayfish.” I have no idea how that would be pronounced phonetically. I found it at the top of a gallery of Marmorkrebs pictures can be found here. Many useful links are embedded with the pictures.

21 April 2009

New rules?

HR669 hasn’t exactly been making national headlines, but in certain circles, has been the topic of much discussion. Sponsored by Guam delegate Madeleine Bordallo (pictured), it’s going to be the subject of an American congressional subcommittee hearing this week (23 April 2009).

The summary of the bill indicates that much is expected in determining whether a species would be allowed in the country or not, including the identity of the organism to the species level and the native range of the species.

Of course, Marmorkrebs would pose a potentially interesting enforcement conundrum. It has no formal species description. It has no known native range – but its closets relative appear to be southern U.S. species. Are Marmorkrebs nonnative?

GrrlScientist has several posts about this new bill (first, second, third).

There are literally tens of thousands of species of non-native birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates that are kept and bred in the United States (for example, there are more than 2,500 species of non-native freshwater and marine fish species in the aquarium trade alone).

In particular, she is asking researchers for information about whether this would impact their research.

Mike Dunford chimes in here and has a follow-up here.

14 April 2009

Rare, threatened, or endangered?

I was listening to an interview with Sarah Pryke on The Science Show. She works with beautiful Gouldian finches (a gallery of them is here). It came up in the conversation that she has about 2,000 of these birds. She estimates that this may well be equal to the number of these birds left in the wild. Which is one of those astonishing thoughts. We forget how many species have most, if not all, of their populations essentially reliant on humans keeping them.

What do you call an animal with no known original wild population? “Extirpated”? No, that’s not quite right. “Extinct in the wild”? That assumes that there is an identified wild population. Regardless, an organism that had known no endemic territory left would be surely be worthy of a conservation effort, wouldn’t it?

Of course, Marmorkrebs fall into such category. We don’t know if they have a home besides our aquaria, or whether it’s under threat or how many Marmorkrebs there might be.

I’ve written a fair amount about Marmorkrebs’ potential to be an invasive species. And while they’ve been introduced into the wild, in Madagascar and elsewhere, but it is far too early to tell what the outcome there will be. If anything, there should probably be some efforts to try to control them in places like Madagascar, because they so obviously don’t belong there.

Nevertheless, it is worth considering the idea that Marmorkrebs might actually be rare, in the global sense. Unless we find a wild population – and there are some reasons to suspect that one might not exist – their future might depend on humans.

And being in that situation has rarely worked out well for the organisms concerned.

07 April 2009

23 Squidoo

Marmorkrebs are now featured on a Squidoo lens and The Aquarium Wiki.

I find it fascinating how the picture I uploaded for Wikipedia makes its way elsewhere around the web.