New Aquarium Fish's Supply Dwindling Just Months After Discovery

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It's possible that the freshwater danio lives in other parts of Myanmar, Roberts said. But if so, the location would be more difficult to access, even by local commercial aquarium-fish collectors.

Meanwhile, concern for the aquatic animal's welfare has prompted some hobbyist Web sites to recommend that collectors stop purchasing the species altogether.

But so far, trade associations have not taken any action.

Ornamental Fish International (OFI), a worldwide trade association, wants more information about the tiny species' distribution and abundance before asking members to stop selling it.

"According to the information we have, the distribution area is very limited," said OFI President Gerald Bassleer.

"However, considering the area where it is found—from an ichthyologic view—this information would be highly unlikely and most probably given in by commercially driven arguments."

Fish Haven

The celestial pearl danio is only one of dozens of new fish discoveries made in Myanmar—a place, Roberts said, that few foreign biological collectors have ever visited.

Roberts, who lives in Thailand, said he has tried unsuccessfully for years to get permission from the Myanmar government to collect fish in the same vicinity as the danio's discovery.

Nevertheless, his work studying, collecting, and preserving the area's fish and culture will continue.

While many aquarium hobbyists still cling to the original name given the fish—galaxy rasbora—Roberts said the one he chose is far more suitable.

"Given the Chinese culture of Southeast Asia generally, and especially of the Southeast Asian aquarium fish trade," he said, "I cannot think of a more appropriate name for this spectacularly beautiful little fish."

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