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Whose Eggs Are Those? Building an ID Catalog

Paul Anderson


Public aquarium exhibits have all the right ingredients to get fish in the mood: Lots of fish, abundant habitat, excellent diets and water quality. Some public aquaria and zoos have dedicated the talents of their aquarists to aquaculture eggs collected from their fishes mating on exhibit to provide an alternative supply to wild-caught fish. But whose egg is whose?

The public aquarium and zoo community has committed the resources and talents of their best and brightest to find out.  Over the past year, participating aquaria and zoos have collaborated to collect fish eggs from aquarium exhibits, photograph them, and submit egg samples for DNA barcoding.  These efforts have culminated in the Open-Source Marine Fish Egg Catalog, hosted on this platform.  It is a resource for the public aquarium and zoo community to identify eggs of mating fishes on exhibit by referencing egg photos and measurements.  The Catalog can help aquaculturists strategically select and prioritize fish species on which to invest their aquaculture talents and efforts.  Are you a member of the public aquarium and zoo community?  Sign up with your institutional email address to check it out!

The Egg Catalog is comprised of marine aquarium fish eggs diligently collected, sampled, and photodocumented by the Aquarium of the Pacific, California Academy of Sciences, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Mystic Aquarium, National Aquarium, New England Aquarium, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, and Shedd Aquarium.  The Project is led by the New England AquariumRoger Williams University, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Coral Reef Aquarium Fisheries Campaign.  Funding for the project has been generously provided by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Grants Fund and New England Aquarium.

Photos of the Flame Angelfish by (L) F. Libert and (R) M. Schmuck/New England Aquarium

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