Dr. Alejandro A. Vagelli’s 224 page tome, “The Banggai Cardinalfish : Natural History, Conservation and Culture of Pterapogon kauderni” is on presale now through Amazon for the discounted price of $154.11. Obviously this is no ordinary fish book; Dr. Vagelli has compiled this work to function not only for the hobbyist, but for researchers and academics. We’d think this book will have to sit on the shelves of any Banggai breeder or any serious marine fish breeder, simply for the fact that this is going to be the defacto reference on the species for years to come.
Dr. Vagelli shared these thoughts on his work. “This book is an attempt to compile all of that is known about the natural history and conservation of the Banggai cardinalfish. I hope it will become a useful resource to researchers as well as to aquarium biologists and fish hobbyists. Although it is not intended to be a main reference for the family Apogonidae, on several subjects I summarized the published work on other apogonid species, and compared various biological and ecological characteristics with Pterapogon kauderni.” Vagelli also offered us these excerpts from the book’s preface, which outline the content of the book.
Part I is a general introduction where the author describes his involvement with this species, offers a historical synopsis of the research conducted on P. kauderni, and an overview of the Banggai Archipelago’s geography, ecology, and socio-economy is provided. In addition, the author describes the logistical difficulties associated with conducting field research in the Banggai Islands, and relates some of the challenges he faced during his fieldwork.
Part II describes most aspects of the natural history of P. kauderni. It is based on the results of laboratory and field studies conducted largely by the author, particularly those on biogeography, reproductive biology, and ecology. It contains data not previously published, including a morphological survey of the species, a detailed analysis of its trophic habits, parasitism, behavior, and the description of a color pattern polymorphism. In addition, in the systematics and evolution section, the author’s discusses the possibility of a freshwater origin of Apogonidae.
Part III is dedicated to the conservation status of P. kauderni. It explains why this species is particularly susceptible to high collection pressure, and describes its capture, handling and shipping methods. In addition, it describes the failed attempt to include P. kauderni under Appendix II of CITES during the CoP 14, and the potential benefits of and current resistance to regulate the capture of and trade in the species. Moreover it describes the artificial introduction of P. kauderni in the Lembeh Strait (north Sulawesi), its potential impact on the local ecosystems, and the detrimental effect that it is having on the efforts to protect this species in its natural habitat.
The Appendix offers general guidance in captive breeding of this species. It is aimed primarily at hobbyists or researchers aspiring to breed P. kauderni, who may not have had prior experience of fish reproduction. It includes advice on acquisition and handling of broodstock, and a description of the appropriate environmental requirements for a successful mating and raising of juveniles.
We might call this the “Banggai Textbook” or maybe even “Banggai Bible” given the depth and breadth of coverage devoted to a single species. We’re eager to get our hands on a copy of the Banggai Bible, but we might have to cut back on the water changes and divert some salt money over to a book purchase! When you think about it, many of us have spent more on a coral or two only to watch it wither and die. Due to be available towards the end of 2011, that’s might be a long wait, but hey, get your gift-givers to start saving or pooling their money now and they won’t have to pay the full list price of $179.95.