Mexican goodeids – or splitfins – are one of the most popular groups of fish in the aquaria trade and yet in the wild many are very close to extinction. These tiny fish live in the small pockets of water in some of the driest of places on Earth, including Death Valley. This unique project brings together well organised and passionate ex situ breeders (at home and in public aquaria) with simple, direct action on the ground with Mexican experts and landowners.
Goodeids, generally referred to as splitfins, are some of the rarest fish in the world. These tiny jewels are often confined to the smallest pools of water in the Mexican and American deserts. Because of their beauty they are frequently kept in aquaria, including many public zoos and aquaria. They have a strong following of passionate supporters but until now there has been limited action for these highly threatened species.
There are approximately 50 species of goodeid. Three are found in Nevada in the US (there were four but one is extinct) and the rest are found in the Mexican Plateau. Many of the species are only found at a single location and confined to a single body of water. Two species are already extinct and three are extinct in the wild. More than 90% of the fishes are threatened with extinction, making it the most endangered group of fish in the world.
The first Mexican goodeid Shoal is working on is the critically endangered blackspot goodeid Allotoca maculata. This species is endemic to the Lago de Magdalena basin near Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico and was first described in 1980. The project will focus on restoring and protecting habitat in the upper Ameca River watershed, where the first individuals were found and described as a new species.