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Potential Negative Impact of Releasing Goldfish into the Wild on Amphibian Populations


dnalex

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Goldfish rank at the top of the list of ornamental fish species that are released by humans into the wild, as their keepers either grow tired of the fish, or have decided one way or another that they don't want to keep these fish. Without thinking, the release of goldfish into lakes, rivers, etc. all over the world can have some drastic negative impacts, not only on other fish, but potentially a vast array of other animals in that ecosystem.

In the study I am sharing with you below, a group of Spanish researchers show the potential negative impact of such an action on amphibians. Here, the study authors used the Alpine newts, and showed that by simply sharing cohabitation with goldfish, these newts hide more often, and exhibit less sexual activity.

This is the study abstract

The introduction of alien species is one of the major causes of current and global biodiversity loss. The introduction of fish can be a particular threat to native amphibian populations, which are declining worldwide. One way for amphibians to persist in such altered environments is to adopt anti-predator strategies especially at the behavioural level. However, although it has been shown that avoidance behaviour may decrease the probability of being detected by a potential predator, little is known on the consequences on sexual behaviour. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that adult Alpine newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris) use shelters more often and exhibit less sexual activity in the presence of goldfish (Carassius auratus) and that they reduce sexual activity more in risky micro-habitats than in safe environments. To this end, we assessed behavioural patterns of adult newts in a replicated laboratory design. Goldfish were present in direct contact with newts in half of the tanks. Consistently throughout the study period, significantly more newts used shelter in the presence of fish than in their absence. Newts also significantly decreased their sexual activity level overall, but specially outside the shelter when they were in direct contact with fish. These results show that fish presence can affect newts in complex ways, such as through inhibition of their reproduction. Our work highlights that integrating behaviour in conservation studies is essential to understanding the patterns of coexistence and exclusion between introduced fish and amphibians.

and the full article

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0082736

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Thanks for the article, Alex. Our local bushland is still feeling the repercussions of an invasive species. They've been trying to get rid of the European red fox for the past 80 years.

Interesting, carp are illegal here in Australia because of the risk they pose to the environment. Hefty fine, too :o

Where they held the open water swimming at the Sydney Olympics, you can fish for carp. If you catch one, you get paid quite a bit for turning them in.

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It's a bit sad, but I have seen videos on youtube of people fishing for fancy goldfish to reduce their population. I certainly can't blame the people though.

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Totally agree that this is really bad. In Florida there are major environmental problems caused by people releasing their snakes into the Everglades. Sadly, many people believe their pet they can no longer care for would be "happier" in the wild, and don't consider/understand the implications of this on the wildlife that already exists there. I wish more people were educated on this subject, but a lot of people probably wouldn't care anyway if they don't think it affects them. I live in California and we are always being laughed at for being the idiots who will stop construction if the environmental impact report says it will affect an amphibian population.

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Totally agree that this is really bad. In Florida there are major environmental problems caused by people releasing their snakes into the Everglades. Sadly, many people believe their pet they can no longer care for would be "happier" in the wild, and don't consider/understand the implications of this on the wildlife that already exists there. I wish more people were educated on this subject, but a lot of people probably wouldn't care anyway if they don't think it affects them. I live in California and we are always being laughed at for being the idiots who will stop construction if the environmental impact report says it will affect an amphibian population.

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I remember watching something about this, I was intrigued because I've owned Burmese pythons before and would have never thought about releasing them like that, I can't believe some people do this. I feel bad for Florida being in Canada does have a benefit of a rough habitat if you're foreign hehe, I hope they can manage to fix that, there are a lot of people trying to on that front it seems. People don't realise that EVEN flushing your fish can cause some serious problems on our environment to the native species. It's sad that so many people are careless like that.

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Great info, funny to read about a study on goldfish and newts they are the two species of pets that I own other than a dog. Although I definitely don't house them together, they have happy and seperate domains.

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This story is the same for all types of pets. Its basically lazy owners who lose interest and instead of finding rehoming options, they take the easy route of dumping or letting their pet go.

Absolutely, and they have unintended and unimagined consequences.

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Interesting, carp are illegal here in Australia because of the risk they pose to the environment. Hefty fine, too

All the waterways connected to the Mississippi river have asian green carp issues. Flooding brought them to landlocked lakes also. It is destroying some great fishing grounds. The problem started not with pet owners but with eco management. They thought they could control bugs and algae. Fools!!!!! Plenty of the communities along the waters have an economical system that is dependent on the bass fishing. The carp are destroying the populations of bass by overcrowding the waters. This is costing millions. A lot of the funds allocated for eradicating the carp are tax dollars.

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Interesting, carp are illegal here in Australia because of the risk they pose to the environment. Hefty fine, too

All the waterways connected to the Mississippi river have asian green carp issues. Flooding brought them to landlocked lakes also. It is destroying some great fishing grounds. The problem started not with pet owners but with eco management. They thought they could control bugs and algae. Fools!!!!! Plenty of the communities along the waters have an economical system that is dependent on the bass fishing. The carp are destroying the populations of bass by overcrowding the waters. This is costing millions. A lot of the funds allocated for eradicating the carp are tax dollars.

I live near Yellowstone National Park and they are fighting introduced lake trout. They devastate the native cutthroat and we are spending tons of money to fight them. The guess is that someone intentionally introduced them for fishing purposes.

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The guess is that someone intentionally introduced them for fishing purposes.

Thats how the Snakeheads are believed to have been introduced to Florida waters. People are just either way too self centered and irresponsible or just plain dumb.

Im up on some of this stuff because I am an avid angler. I try to be responsible. Im the guy who spends a few hours cleaning my boat after a fishing trip because I dont want to transfer anything from one body of water to another. People who do not practice this are the ones that have destroyed the northern lakes with zebra mussels.

Edited by sonny.barile
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I used to live off Lake Erie. And close to the Erie Canal. The zebra mussels are nuts! It's amazing and awful :(

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I used to live off Lake Erie. And close to the Erie Canal. The zebra mussels are nuts! It's amazing and awful :(

My hometown is Ottawa, ontario and I remember learning about and seeing how quick the zebra mussels decimate boats rocks and everything, its insane.

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When I lived in Santa Barbara, my boyfriend at the time had a boat. We used to take it out on the lake and he would go fishing. Everyone who took their boat out was made to clean and inspect it thoroughly to prevent critters and plants from being transferred from one area to another. They would also measure any fish you caught to make sure they were above the minimum length. I have never been fishing anyplace else because it's boring to me (hours of waiting for something you might not even get), so I don't know if they are this strict everywhere or if it's just a California thing. :-)

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I know with many of the invasive snake problems in florida the main cause is thought to be pets that escaped after hurricanes, so I think in a state like Florida that can be a contribute as well. Snakeheads are really interesting fish, its a shame people cant seem to be responsible.

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I'm in FL, and I have never heard of a snake escaping because of a hurricane. We haven't had a real hurricane in 10 years. People are simply throwing away pets.

Some pythons are big enough that they have eaten alligators. It's terrible.

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I'm in FL, and I have never heard of a snake escaping because of a hurricane. We haven't had a real hurricane in 10 years. People are simply throwing away pets.

Some pythons are big enough that they have eaten alligators. It's terrible.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/invasion-of-the-giant-pythons/video-alligator-vs-python/5541/

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I can't find the exact source but I do know that quite a few snakes were reported missing after several large storms (hurricane Andrew namely) from breeding facilities. Florida is a great place for reptile breeders because of the climate, large breeding facilities have an easier time maintaining humidity. I know many snakes are released but I believe the initial surge in population was caused by storms.

EDIT: alex sniped me :rofl

whoohoo

Making matters worse, a private rep­tile-breeding facility near the Everglades was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. This may be the cause of the original influx of large quantities of pythons appearing in the wild.

http://www.wildwatch.org/Binocular/bino20/Floda.htm

Edited by Pearlscaleperfect
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They are very cool fish but crazy predators... the other local forum I'm a member of (non-goldfish forum well not non per say but not many members interested in them, I've tried more than one occasion to start a thread for goldfish lovers) there are a butt load if ppl that have snakeheads and only snakeheads lol it's cute.

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Here is another good one.......Wild life management released Goby's in to the northern waters to eat the Zebra Mussels. Then they found out the Goby's also eat the bass eggs. This is devastating the bass population.

dnalex That video was cool yet not. I wonder if the snakes are having any effect on the bird populations in Fla :hummm

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