Cen­tres

The Friends of the Parosphromenus live scat­tered across the globe


For the stan­dard aquar­ist, it is irrel­e­vant where the next friend of the hobby lives. Pet shops are usu­ally within reach, the rest is sup­plied by mail order, the usual fish, plants and the nec­es­sary acces­sories are almost always avail­able. It is quite dif­fer­ent if one keep­ing some­thing spe­cial. Parosphromenus aquar­ists often have a prob­lem, which is unknown to other aquar­ists: to make con­tacts with other Parosphromenus enthu­si­asts. In the neigh­bor­hood they are rare. Where do they live, with whom can I share expe­ri­ences and fishes? This is where the net­work of our Parosphromenus project helps.

The dens­est net­work of ama­teurs of our species is still found in Cen­tral Europe : a result of the pio­neer­ing role of Walther Foer­sch. But also in the north and west Europe, there are now smaller cen­ters of lovers of Parosphromenus. There is another cen­ter far from here in Japan. In other areas, includ­ing in the U.S., so far there are no cen­ters, but some hob­by­ists and experts deal­ing with this species. In our net­work, cur­rently miss­ing addresses are only from Africa and Aus­tralia. It is per­haps only a mat­ter of time until the first arrive from the lat­ter is.

Ger­many is still the coun­try with most Parosphromenus enthu­si­asts. This den­sity is still a con­se­quence of the fact that here, in the mid­dle sev­en­ties, of the 20th Cen­tury, Parosphromenus aquar­is­tics began with the thor­ough research of Dr. Walther Foer­sch . The IGL was, since its foun­da­tion in 1979, the lead­ing Labyrinth Fish Asso­ci­a­tion and pro­duced other experts. Some of them from the eight­ies went on suc­ces­ful exploratory trips to Malaysia and Indone­sia (eg Horst Linke, Diet­rich Schaller, Nor­bert Neuge­bauer, Gunter Kopic, Jacob Geck , Mar­tin Hall­mann and oth­ers). Their names are con­nected per­ma­nently to this genus (for instance as ’god­fa­ther’ for P.linkei) and Schaller (as first descrip­tor of P.nagyi). After P.deissneri (Bleeker, later redescribed by Kot­te­lat) and P.paludicola (Tweedie) it was the Ger­man biol­o­gist Jörg Vierke, who in the sev­en­ties, described the next two Parosphromenus (P.filamentosus and P.parvulus). Much later, Horst Linke founded the work­ing group ’Labyrinth Fish /​EAC’ which became an inter­na­tion­ally active group, that by its activ­ity in par­tic­u­lar helped to bring more forms of Parosphromenus to Europe. In Switzer­land, there were aquar­ists who have merit from dis­cov­ery and breed­ing ser­vices, for exam­ple Alfred Waser. The Swiss ichthy­ol­o­gist Mau­rice Kot­te­lat has become one of the fore­most experts in the South­east Asian fish fauna and one of the most indus­tri­ous tax­on­o­mists in recent decades, includ­ing the most species of Parosphromenus, partly described together with the Sin­ga­porean Pro­fes­sor Peter Ng.

In Eng­land, it was pri­mar­ily the German-​born William Har­vey, who madee Licorice gouramis known on the island. Unfor­tu­nately, not many fol­lowed him, with the excep­tion of a mar­ried cou­ple with great con­sis­tency and ded­i­ca­tion: Bar­bara and Allan Brown. Some fish retain their names (includ­ing Betta species such as B.brownorum) and they dis­cov­ered and described P. allani and P. har­veyi . In the Netherlands,for many years, Karen Koomans held high the ban­ner of Parosphromenus breed­ers and on this jour­ney, had some com­pan­ions and fol­low­ers. In France, the CIL is a cen­ter of Labyrinth­fisch aquar­is­tic, and indi­vid­ual enthu­si­asts (such as Olivier Per­rin) devel­oped to become out­stand­ing breed­ers, includ­ing for species of Parosphromenus. In recent years a fur­ther, some­what scat­tered cen­tre was grow­ing in the Scan­di­na­vian coun­tries . In other Euro­pean coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly in East­ern and South­ern Europe, there appear to be only iso­lated experts for these fish.

The only other sig­nif­i­cant cen­ter is located in Japan. Due, not only to the greater geo­graph­i­cal prox­im­ity, but also to the strong Chi­nese tra­di­tions in the home coun­tries of our fish, there are many con­tacts with the inhab­i­tants of the home­lands of Parosphromenus. This, together with joint ven­tures with trav­el­ling Euro­pean enthu­si­asts, includ­ing by increas­ing the eco­nomic inter­est of orna­men­tal fish exports, more and more peo­ple from West Malaysia, Sarawak and Kali­man­tan are inter­ested in this lit­tle known and almost for­got­ten jew­els of dis­ap­pear­ing native forests. Slowly the con­vic­tion devel­oped that their pro­tec­tion should be a major con­cern of the present generation.


(PF)

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