Dr. Matthew L. Wittenrich and I were emailing last week, pre-Thanksgiving, when he dropped a “Booyah” on me. The rest of the day, he had me cursing him in the way only friends can do. Once again, I say “I’m going to breed Butterflyfish”, spend over a year building up broodstock, patiently conditioning them. Then one day Wittenrich says, “Of all that is happening…the coolest of the cool is Heniochus diphreutes. The larvae were absolutely amazing, ate well, grew fast, we had hundreds of them.” Son of a…CONGRATULATIONS!
Today’s official annoucement in the Rising Tide Blog details the cooperative efforts between Paul Rinehart and Ramon Villaverde of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, as part of the Rising Tide Conservation Initiative. In this first go-round, they’ve made a sizable dent in the larval culture of a Butterflyfish, with the last larvae dying at 41 days post hatch. We can all collectively hope that this feat represents another leap forward, much as last year’s initial positive results with Liopropoma Basslets foreshadowed Todd Gardner’s ultimate success with them only a few weeks ago. Only time will tell if the Rising Tide collaboration results in the first captive-bred Butterflyfish. It’s not every day that we check off a breakthrough at the genus or familial level.