Tigers in dis­guise

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Tropical -

When is a Tiger barb not a Tiger barb? When it’s on sale in your lo­cal aquar­ium shop!

Sci­en­tists don’t be­lieve that the Tiger barbs we see in the shops are the real deal. Wild-caught Tiger barbs have black ven­tral fins, whereas the farmed ones have or­angey-red ven­tral fins, some­thing also seen on Punti­grus an­chis­porus, an ob­scure and rarely im­ported species. Sim­i­larly, farmed Tiger barbs have a dark dor­sal fin edged with or­angey-red – some­thing not char­ac­ter­is­tic of wild-caught Tigers but, again, it’s what you’ll see on Punti­grus an­chis­porus.

This sort of sit­u­a­tion isn’t un­com­mon with aquar­ium fish. Your com­mon or gar­den an­gelfish is often said to be Ptero­phyl­lum scalare, but it’s dif­fer­ent enough from wild Ptero­phyl­lum scalare to make it highly likely that fish breed­ers crossed it with other Ptero­phyl­lum species over the years to pro­duce the an­gels you see in your lo­cal aquar­ium shop.

It’s likely that our pet Tiger barbs are ‘mutts’ in the same sort of way, with not just Punti­grus tetra­zona parent­age, but also Punti­grus an­chis­porus and per­haps some other Punti­grus species in their fam­ily tree.

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