Brook lamprey prepares spawning ground, video


This video shows a brook lamprey preparing its spawning ground by moving and cleansing pebbles.

Luuk Punt in the Netherlands made this video.

Good Pacific lamprey news


This video from the USA says about itself:

Why Pacific Lamprey Matter to Columbia Basin Tribes

5 November 2012

Pacific lamprey have been on earth for around 450 million years but in the past 50 years, they’ve been pushed to near extinction in the Columbia River Basin. Lamprey have been a part of the cultures of the tribes in the Pacific Northwest since time immemorial and in this video they share their feelings on this amazing creature as well as what they are doing to help keep them from going extinct.

From the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in the USA:

Partnership Powers Pacific Lamprey Return Upstream of Former Condit Dam Site

March 10, 2016

HUSUM, Wash. – Pacific lamprey have been found above the former site of Condit Dam on the White Salmon River, signaling an important step forward in habitat restoration, lamprey conservation, and partnership in the Columbia River Basin.

Removed in 2011, Condit Dam blocked passage of upstream migrating fish for over 100 years. Lamprey have a unique life history and important ecological role and their presence should broaden the natural diversity that improve conditions for other aquatic species. “Because of the critical ecological role that lamprey play in rivers of the northwest and the strong tribal cultural importance, the return of lamprey to the White Salmon make this a brighter day,” says Howard Schaller, USFWS.

“This is a good day,” agrees Patrick Luke, Yakama Nation Tribal Councilman. “We are recognizing asum (lamprey) making their mighty return to Mitula Wana (White Salmon).”

Joined by concern for this vital fish, staff from The Yakama Nation and the Service began monitoring lamprey distribution in the basin in 2007. Prior to removal of the dam, surveys by Service biologists found no Pacific lamprey above the dam, only below. Non-migratory western brook lamprey were detected both above and below the dam.

In the summer of 2015, as part of the post dam removal monitoring, the Service surveyed for lamprey in several watersheds as well as the mainstem of the White Salmon River above and below the former dam site. Pacific lamprey were found at three locations upstream of the former dam site, around river mile four, in areas previously inundated by Northwestern Reservoir.

The larvae, which are the size and shape of a small earthworm, are likely offspring of adults spawning in previously inaccessible habitat. This is one of the few documentations of Pacific lamprey natural recolonization after the removal of a dam.

These findings give us a unique opportunity to monitor a potentially naturally-recolonizing population of Pacific lamprey and the aquatic community’s response to dam removal. “All lamprey need is a chance to recolonize on their own,” Councilman Luke confirms. Further monitoring is planned to document if the Pacific lamprey continue to use new areas over time.

Photos available on the USFWS Pacific Flickr set.

Bullhead guards nest, video


This video shows a male bullhead guarding eggs in his nest in the Netherlands. In March-April, females lay their eggs in the nests; males then guard them.

Jos van Zijl made this video.

Little grebe eats little fish, video


This video shows a little grebe eating a little fish in the Netherlands.

See also here.

New catfish species discovered in India


This video says about itself:

30 September 2013

Glass catfish (Kryptopterus bicirrhis)

Habitat: Asia
Temperature: 23-27°C
pH: 6,5-7,5
Length: 8 cm

From PLOS one:

Amblyceps waikhomi, a New Species of Catfish (Siluriformes: Amblycipitidae) from the Brahmaputra Drainage of Arunachal Pradesh, India

Achom Darshan, Akash Kachari, Rashmi Dutta, Arijit Ganguly, Debangshu Narayan Das

Published: February 3, 2016

Abstract

Amblyceps waikhomi sp. nov. is described from the Nongkon stream which drains into the Noa Dehing River, a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, in Arunachal Pradesh, India. The new species can be distinguished from congeners (except A. torrentis) in having a deeper body depth at anus.

It further differs from congeners (except A. mangois and A. serratum) in having fewer vertebrae, from A. mangois in lacking (vs. having) strongly-developed projections on the proximal lepidotrichia of the median caudal-fin rays, and in having a longer, wider, and deeper head; and from A. serratum in having a posteriorly smooth (vs. with 4–5 serrations) pectoral spine, and unequal jaw length (lower jaw longer and weakly-projecting anteriorly vs. equal upper and lower jaws). It additionally differs from A. murraystuarti, A. torrentis, A. apangi, A. laticeps, and A. cerinum in having a deeply forked (vs. emarginate or truncate) caudal fin. This species is the seventh amblycipitid species known to occur in the Ganga-Brahmaputra River system.

Sharks’ social networks, new research


Sand tiger sharks' social networks

From the American Geophysical Union in the USA:

New research reveals surprising social networks of sharks

February 22, 2016

Although historically seen as solitary animals, new research being presented here shows sharks may have a more complex social structure than previously thought. Using tracking devices to trace the movements of individual animals in the open ocean, researchers found that Sand Tiger sharks form complex social networks that are typically seen in mammals but rarely observed in fish.

“Higher-order decision-making processes are often associated with mammals, or species that we think of as really smart – dolphins, elephants, or chimpanzees,” said Danielle Haulsee, a PhD candidate in oceanography at the University of Delaware in Lewes. “Our research shows that it is important for the scientific community to not rule out these types of behaviors in non-mammalian species, as behavior can often give us insight on how species interact with their ecosystems and how resources that humans depend on are distributed around the world.”

Sand Tiger , top predators that live in coastal waters off the Eastern United States, have experienced drastic population declines over the past several decades. Sand tigers are important regulators of but have been historically understudied, according to Haulsee.

In the summer, Sand Tigers congregate together in the shallow waters of the Delaware Bay, but little is known about their movements and how they interact with one another in the during the rest of the year, Haulsee said. Understanding how these sharks move and interact could help biologists better conserve this species and determine how vulnerable they are to human activities such as fishing and dredging.

Haulsee and her research team used acoustic tags to track the movements of over 300 individual Sand Tiger sharks and record shark-shark interactions over the course of a year. Previous studies have looked at shark interactions in laboratories or species contained in pens, but this the first study to record interactions for almost a year in free-swimming sharks, Haulsee said.

Initial data from two individual sharks show they encountered nearly 200 other sand tigers throughout the year, as well as several individuals from other shark species.

These sharks exhibit fission-fusion social behavior, meaning that the number of sharks in a group and the individuals that are part of the group change by location and time of year. Haulsee and her team found that groups of Sand Tigers stay together for certain times of the year and fall apart during other times. They also found that Sand Tigers re-encounter the same sharks throughout the year.

One surprise was a sudden lack of encounters with other Sand Tigers in the late winter and early spring, Haulsee said. Up until that point, both Sand Tigers were encountering other sharks regularly, but in the late winter, both seemed to enter a dispersal phase where they encountered very few other sharks. According to Haulsee, this could be related to other aspects of the sharks’ lives, such as mating and searching for food, which suggests that they could be performing a kind of social cost-benefit analysis.

Although this type of social behavior has been suggested in sharks before, the change in the group composition on an individual basis has not been documented in this way, according to Haulsee.

“If you’re living with a group, there could be some kind of protection or information sharing that comes with being in that group,” she said. “But if there’s a lot of competition for food resources or mating resources, then it’s not beneficial anymore to be in a group, and you might swim away from your group and go off on your own.”

Haulsee will be presenting initial data from the study today at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting co-sponsored by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanography Society and the American Geophysical Union.

The researchers hope to use their results to answer questions about whether Sand Tigers form family groups or whether sharks of similar size and sex form distinct groupings. They also hope that defining critical locations where sharks congregate together will help build conservation plans to better protect this species.

“If we know where and when the population is grouped, we can focus on limiting human-induced disturbances in those times and places,” Haulsee said. “For example, if we know there are certain times and places where breeding females, or even more importantly the pregnant females, are aggregated together, we can devote resources into those areas to protect those sharks.”

Save sharks and rays, new initiative


This video is called The Secret World of Sharks and Rays – Nature Documentary.

From Wildlife Extra:

New global strategy to save sharks and rays

A group of international conservation organizations launched a new strategy today to combat the decline of sharks and closely related rays, while warning that the rays are even more threatened and less protected than the higher profile sharks.

The call for greater inclusion of rays in conservation action plans is part of “Global Priorities for Conserving Sharks and Rays: A 2015-2025 Strategy,” released today in conjunction with a Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) meeting on shark conservation currently underway in San José, Costa Rica.

While calling on countries across the globe to take urgently needed actions to conserve and rebuild vulnerable populations of both sharks and rays, the 10-year strategy document emphasizes that, as a group, rays – including skates, stingrays, sawfishes, guitarfishes and devil rays – should receive as much attention and investment as their better known relatives, the sharks.

The approximately 650 species of rays include shark-like rays, such as the critically endangered smalltooth sawfish and Brazilian guitarfish.

Overfishing due to under-management is the single most important threat to sharks and rays,” said WCS Sharks and Rays Coordinator Amie Bräutigam. “Improvements in fisheries management and expansion of conservation efforts – for rays in particular – form a major part of this new strategy.”

The global strategy was produced on the basis of extensive data analysis and synthesis by experts from Shark Advocates International, Shark Trust, TRAFFIC, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and WWF, with technical guidance and input from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group. These organizations have partnered to implement this strategy through the Global Sharks and Rays Initiative.

“We are eager to share our global shark and ray conservation strategy with governments, and to discuss concrete steps toward the many shared goals that are ripe for action,” said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International. “Although the challenges are daunting and many questions remain, the tools and resources are already sufficient to meet CMS obligations for protecting many endangered rays and limit the catch of many heavily fished sharks.”

Along with highlighting the need for more attention to rays, the strategy emphasizes that science-based limits on shark and ray fishing and trade are urgently needed to end overfishing and ensure sustainability.

“Some shark and ray populations are capable of supporting fisheries in the long term,” said Ali Hood, the Shark Trust’s Director of Conservation. “Sustainable use is a pragmatic approach to conservation, which values the natural world, the importance of livelihoods, the cultural significance of products, and the need to minimize waste through full utilization. It also requires a genuine commitment to science-based management of populations – a key objective of this global ten-year strategy.”

Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC’s Fisheries Programme Leader, cautioned: “Shark and ray protection measures are only as good as their actual implementation. Ensuring the traceability of fisheries products along the trade chain is essential to assess the effectiveness of any regulations and ultimately in bringing about real conservation benefits for the species affected.”

For shark and ray species listed under the Convention of Migratory Species, the authors have called on member countries to ensure that several key steps are taken in line with convention obligations, including: establishing strict national protections for all five endangered sawfish species and all manta and devil rays; and adopting national and regional fishing limits for heavily-fished, highly migratory sharks, such as mako, hammerhead, and thresher sharks.

Demand for shark fin in Asia has long been considered the major driver for the overfishing of sharks, but the strategy highlights recent findings that market demand for shark and ray meat is also significant, and on the rise.

“The volumes of shark and ray meat traded internationally have doubled since the 1990s and are now considered as important as shark fin in driving overfishing of these animals,” noted Andy Cornish, Shark and Ray Initiative Leader of WWF International. “Driving major reductions in the global demand for shark and ray fins and meat, the vast majority of which are currently from unsustainable and untraceable sources, is an integral part of the strategy.”

The strategy also emphasizes that nearly half of the world’s shark and ray species have been classified by the IUCN as “Data Deficient,” meaning that information is insufficient to assess the health of their populations, which can further hinder conservation action.

“Our analyses for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species reveal a quarter of the world’s cartilaginous fishes as at risk of extinction. A major shift in effort is needed to prevent the extinction of 70 most endangered species – sawfishes, guitarfishes, wedgefishes, freshwater sharks and rays – and to clarify the conservation status and needs of the 600 Data Deficient and newly discovered species,” said IUCN SSG co-chairs Nick Dulvy and Colin Simpfendorfer.

The Global Sharks and Rays Initiative is supported in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.