The Banggai cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni, is one of the most iconic fish in the marine aquarium trade. It’s unusual coloration, unique reproductive strategy and ease of care has made Banggai cardinals extremely popular but this has led to a few controversies. The popularity of Banggais means that they are collected in huge quantities for the aquarium trade, some estimates peg the total annual catch at nearly a million individuals per year.
On the one hand, this means that there are serious collection pressures on wild populations of Pterapogon kauderni in their natural habitat. Moreover, it is believed that the huge demand for the species prompted an aquarium fish collector to introduce Banggais in lembeh strait in Sulawesi where they have flourished, but so far without any noticeable consequence to the native marine fauna.
This video beautifully documents the Banggai cardinalfish in a marine environment in Lembeh, even if it is not their natural habitat we can see the Banggai cardinalfish in a natural setting. Most of the video is spot-on with their information but we have to cringe about that whole “hurtling towards extinction” part; If Banggai cardinals were really that rare collectors would not be collecting and shipping them by the tens of thousands every week and they certainly wouldn’t cost $15-25 at the LFS.
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