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The Banggai Cardinalfish: Natural History, Conservation, and Culture of Pterapogon kauderni

ISBN: 978-0-470-65499-6
224 pages
September 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
The Banggai Cardinalfish: Natural History, Conservation, and Culture of Pterapogon kauderni (0470654996) cover image


The Banggai cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni, is a fascinating species that possesses a series of remarkable biological characteristics making it unique among coral reef fishes. It has been the focus of studies in reproduction, ecology, population genetics and evolution. In addition, since its rediscovery in the late 1990s, it has become tremendously popular in the international ornamental fish trade, and indiscriminate collecting has led to its inclusion in the 2007 IUCN Red List as an endangered species.

This book is divided into three main parts: a general introduction to the fish, including a historical synopsis with an overview of the Banggai Archipelago; a comprehensive treatment of the species’ natural history (distribution, morphology, reproduction, embryology, ecology, genetics, systematics and evolution); an account of the conservation of the species, including descriptions of its fishery, attempts to protect it under CITES, and introduction programmes. The book also includes an appendix offering information on captive breeding, juvenile mortality reduction, and common diseases.

This book is a unique resource for ichthyology students and researchers working on fish biology, ecology and conservation, and for marine ornamental fish hobbyists and aquarium professionals.

Visit www.wiley.com/go/vagelli/cardinalfish to access the figures and tables from the book.

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Table of Contents

Preface x

Acknowledgments xiii

Part I Introduction 1

1 Introduction 3

1.1 The Banggai cardinalfish and a long rewarding experience 3

2 Historic Review 6

2.1 The improbable first encounter 6

2.2 Rediscovering the “King of the Cardinalfishes,” and a prophecy realized 8

2.3 Other field studies 9

3 The Banggai Archipelago 11

4 Field Research in the Banggai Islands 21

4.1 Introduction 21

4.2 A challenging first expedition 22

Part II Natural History 29

5 Geographic Distribution 31

5.1 Introduction 31

5.2 The geographic distribution of Pterapogon kauderni within its natural range 33

5.3 The Luwuk population 36

5.4 The north Sulawesi populations 38

5.5 Other exotic populations 39

5.6 Discussion 40

6 General Survey of Morphology 46

6.1 Introduction and some particulars of the soft anatomy 46

6.2 Main osteological characteristics (Figure 6.2a, see Tables 6.1, 6.2 for selected body proportions and counts) 49

7 Reproductive Biology 58

7.1 General aspects of reproduction in Apogonidae 58

7.2 The reproductive biology of Pterapogon kauderni 75

8 Ecology 94

8.1 Main ecological aspects of Apogonidae 94

8.2 Habitat and microhabitat preference of Pterapogon kauderni 95

8.3 Common fish assemblages including Pterapogon kauderni 101

8.4 Group structure 102

8.5 Reproductive ecology 104

8.6 Trophic habits 109

8.7 Likely predators of Pterapogon kauderni 119

8.8 Natural occurrence of parasites in Pterapogon kauderni 120

9 Genetics 123

9.1 Introduction 123

9.2 Genetic structure in Pterapogon kauderni 124

9.3 Possible spot polymorphism 125

10 Systematics and Evolution 128

10.1 Introduction 128

10.2 Taxonomy of Pterapogon kauderni 130

10.3 Recent phylogenetic studies and intergeneric relationships of Pterapogon 131

10.4 Direct development and the Banggai-Australian connection: Could ontogeny and paleogeography provide hints about the origin and intergeneric relationships of Pterapogon? 132

10.5 Evolution of Apogonidae. The case for a freshwater-origin of the family 138

Part III Conservation 145

11 The Fishery of Pterapogon kauderni 147

11.1 Introduction: Pterapogon kauderni, a species particularly susceptible to high collection pressure 147

11.2 The history of the trade 149

11.3 Field surveys and a bleak conservation situation 150

11.4 The capture, handling and shipping of Pterapogon kauderni: high mortality explained 152

12 Conservation of Pterapogon kauderni, a Challenge Still Ahead 158

12.1 The unsuccessful proposal for regulating the capture and trade of Pterapogon kauderni 158

12.2 The real significance of Pterapogon kauderni in the local economy. Why the livelihood of the Banggai

people should not be used as an excuse to prevaricate the protection of this species 160

12.3 The potential benefits of and resistance to regulate the capture and trade of Pterapogon kauderni 161

13 The Lembeh Conundrum, from a Careless Action to a Grave Conservation Situation 166

13.1 The “Lembeh population” and its impact in the Lembeh Strait 166

13.2 A word for the hobbyists 170

Part IV Appendix 173

14 Captive Breeding and Rearing of Pterapogon kauderni 175

14.1 Introduction 175

14.2 Reproduction 176

14.3 Nutritional aspects 181

14.4 Diseases: a new viral infection 183

References 186

Index 198


This book has a companion website: www.wiley.com/go/vagelli/cardinalfish

with Figures and Tables from the book for downloading

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Author Information

Dr Alejandro A. Vagelli is the Director of Science and Conservation at the New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences, and as adjunct professor teaches Marine Biology, Ichthyology, and Marine Conservation at Rutgers University.   He is the world’s leading authority on the Banggai cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni , and was one of the first people to breed the species successfully in captivity. He has published numerous scientific articles on its biology, ecology, and conservation, and his fieldwork in Indonesia led to the inclusion of the species in the IUCN Red List.
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“An authoritative synthesis of everything we know about this important yet endangered ornamental fish that also plays an important ecological role on Indonesian coral reefs.”  (Bulletin of the British Ecological Society, 1 June 2012)




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