Rio de la Vega, Tarifa, Spain.

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Matt
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Rio de la Vega, Tarifa, Spain.

Post by Matt » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:30 pm

Hope you find these interesting folks. Cobitis paludica was caught just 400m from the beach! :D
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Habitat: we only caught Cobitis in these two tiny ponds, one of which was filthy. Maximum depth was about a metre:
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The rest of this river looks mostly like the following pics. We tried netting in half a dozen or so more pools but no Cobitis were caught. In the background of the top pic is the bridge under which the loaches can be found:
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Sympatric species:
Aphanius baeticus (male at top, female below). I have to be honest and say that this highly-threatened killifish is the real reason I was netting here, but to find the Cobitis too really made my day. Both species are on the IUCN Red List although the Aphanius is by far the most at risk. These ponds are one of only around half-a-dozen places where it can still be found... Judging by how well-established the terrestrial plants are in the dessicated riverbed it seems that both species could disappear from here sooner rather than later. The river clearly hasn't held much water for a long time... :cry:
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Atherina sp.?
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Crayfish, possibly an introduced Procambarus clarkii?:
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These tiny shrimp were the only other species in these ponds..loads of them though!
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Cheers

Matt

Edit - Sigh....I've done it again with the enormo-pics...Apologies! :oops:

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andre
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Post by andre » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:12 pm

Very nice Matt!

Can't believe that fish can actually live in that environment.

Blue
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Post by Blue » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:24 pm

Wow!:shock:
Passion for loaches + Passion for snails = Irony

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Post by piggy4 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:22 am

Brilliant pics Matt, absolutely wonderful 8)

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Emma Turner
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Post by Emma Turner » Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:21 am

Excellent work, Matt! 8) You are so lucky going on a fish finding expedition and catching loaches! 8) It is such a shame that the habitat is being neglected though. Were you able to keep any that you found?

Emma
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helen nightingale
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Post by helen nightingale » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:34 pm

thanks for sharing your pictures. they are so interesting, dont worry about them being "enormo-pics"

as they are endangered, are you allowed to take any to breed from? that pond didnt look like a very hopefull long term home for those cute little fish.

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Jim Powers
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Post by Jim Powers » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:53 pm

Great pics!!
It's amazing the fish can survive in that type of water. They must be very tough.
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mistergreen
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Post by mistergreen » Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:34 pm

Did you mention where this is?
Spain?
*edit* duh, it's in the subject title


I'm thinking about doing an expedition myself :)
I have to buy a big ol' net.

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Matt
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Post by Matt » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:03 pm

Thanks for all the kind words guys! :D I used to do these kind of trips a lot in England a few years back but being in a new place has really rekindled my interest. I realise I'm very lucky to be doing this and am planning to get out and about as often I am able. I will of course share on LOL when relevant. :wink:

Andre and Jim, I was as surprised as you are to find Cobitis here. There were plenty of them though and yes they must be super-hardy as the temperature fluctuation in such shallow water should be incredible over the course of the year. The day before we visited the air temperature was in excess of 100F but this is the Atlantic coast so gets quite chilly in winter.

Emma, Helen and Mister Green. Both the Cobitis and Aphanius are protected species and it is illegal to remove any from their native waters without a licence. I have started to get involved with the Iberian Cyprinodontid Conservation Programme (I have a link to their website if I'm allowed to post it?) and will look into bringing back some loaches on my next visit to the south. I have a feeling they could go outdoors on my balcony all year round and I'd love to try breeding some. :)

Blue and Andy/piggy (it is you, right?), thanks! It was just a very pleasant surprise to catch Cobitis this time but I'm hoping to get up near the Pyrenees on a dedicated mission to find the species that live up here in the north soon. Got some photey tanks on order from England so hopefully will get some better pics next time too!

Ps - I unashamedly nicked the idea of using a leaf for pics from the guys on Petfrd but the fish really do sit more still! :P :lol:

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helen nightingale
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Post by helen nightingale » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:47 pm

i would like to see the consevation programme site - but is it in english? it certainly makes comprehnsion a lot easier for me. sadly i only have a very basic grasp of french and german

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Matt
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Post by Matt » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:53 pm

It's in English and Spanish yep Helen. I'll just await confirmation from the mods before posting though. :wink:

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Emma Turner
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Post by Emma Turner » Sat Aug 23, 2008 7:00 pm

Go ahead, Matt. :D I think someone like you should be allowed to collect some of these endangered species for breeding attempt purposes, as it doesn't exactly look as if anyone is protecting the waterways that these populations are living in.

If you come back over here, maybe you can join us for our much-talked-about-but-not-yet-acted-upon LOL camping trip to search for Cobitis taenia!

Emma
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Matt
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Post by Matt » Sat Aug 23, 2008 7:29 pm

Thanks Emma, the URL for the English version is (no giggling please):

http://www.fartet.org/index1_in.htm

The website only deals with the Spanish species but the guys that run it are also involved in breeding endangered Aphanius from other countries, too. I'm getting groups of a Turkish species and an Algerian one that is extinct in the wild later this month.

I'm genuinely hopeful I'll be allowed to collect some Cobitis next time. As you say, it's not like there are any measures in place to protect that particular locality at present. :roll: Would love to come to collect C. taenia with you guys. :D Give me an advance warning though as I can't see myself moving back to England anytime soon. :P

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Matt
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Post by Matt » Sat Aug 23, 2008 7:47 pm

These are some of the other fish I caught whilst looking for the Aphanius (netted at 4 localities in all). The first pic is of a female Gambusia. The introduction of these buggers is one of the main reasons the Aphanius are in such sharp decline. The second two I have no idea about. Mick suggested posting them here in the hope that someone (who may go by the name "Old Nick", amongst others :twisted: ) may be able to help. Quality is terrible and the fish in the last pic is covered in muck sorry. :lol:
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helen nightingale
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Post by helen nightingale » Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:54 am

there are some really pretty little fish on that website, and habitat pictures. thanks for posting.

it would be great if you could get collect some of these fish to try and preserve the species

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