Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 232532867
Population and Habitat assessments of endemic and critically endangered fish fresh water Parosphromenus ornaticauda in West Kalimantan
The keeping of ornamental fish is gaining popularity as a leisurely and stress-relieving pastime. The global trade in ornamental fish and associated aquarium and pond accessories exceeds $7 billion annually. Although a significant portion of freshwater fish in trade is bred in captivity, a noteworthy quantity is still sourced from the wild. Aquarium fish, second only to birds in cheerfulness, have risen to become the second most popular hobby after photography.
Preserving the natural breeding habitats of native ornamental fish is crucial. Therefore, efforts should be directed towards safeguarding these habitats by managing the infestation of aquatic macrophytes, preventing and controlling siltation and aquatic pollution, and protecting wetlands from conversion.
One such species, Parosphromenus ornaticauda, commonly known as the Decorated Dwarf Gourami, faces a critical endangerment status in its native West Kalimantan region in Borneo, Indonesia. Its dwindling population raises significant concerns, as it is categorized as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The decline is attributed to habitat destruction, water pollution, and agricultural expansion. The species, with its limited geographic range, mainly resides in blackwater peat swamp forests, which are increasingly threatened by logging, land conversion, and agricultural activities.
The conservation of P. ornaticauda is imperative not only for its own survival but also for the ecosystem it inhabits. This species plays a crucial role by controlling insect populations and serving as prey for larger aquatic species. The loss of P. ornaticauda in the wild would disrupt the delicate balance of the aquatic food web.