Twenty-one red handfish hatched in successful breeding program
December 7, 2023 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Twenty-one critically endangered red handfish hatched in successful Tasmanian conservation breeding program. A lot is riding on this group of tiny baby fish — so much so, they'll be put through school to get them street smart before release into the wild in Tasmania.

The tiny fish species is only found in two small 50 metre stretches of reef in Frederick Henry Bay in Tasmania's south-east, and their habitat is facing a growing number of threats.

Before this hatching event, the total red handfish population was estimated to be fewer than 70.

That is why this is considered such a significant step in the combined conservation efforts of the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and the Handfish Conservation Project.

Red handfish use their hand-like fins to move along the sea floor.

No description could top the one written by the Handfish Conservation Project:

"If you've never seen a handfish before, imagine dipping a toad in some brightly coloured paint, telling it a sad story, and forcing it to wear gloves two sizes too big."
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries (5 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The Devils Hole pupfish — whose entire range is a water-filled cavern 22 m long by 3.5 m wide in Nevada — wave hello to these tiny grump-gloves
posted by scruss at 8:52 PM on December 7, 2023 [3 favorites]

One of the main threats to red handfish habitat is an explosion in the local Short Spined Urchin population, which is known to damage the kelp forests red handfish rely on for protection and breeding.

The decline in kelp, previously... until that turns around, the prospects for these funny fishy fellers seem bleak.

Tassie needs to get onto fishing for sea urchins and eating them, pronto.
posted by rory at 3:51 AM on December 8, 2023 [1 favorite]


100% worth clicking the link to see the little guys.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:32 AM on December 8, 2023 [3 favorites]

They are splendidly intriguing; as if they'd been created and then, you know, more features got added anyway.
Apologies if this is rather consumerist, but I'd love a tree ornament of this and most other creatures that cpbc posts about.
posted by winesong at 2:40 PM on December 8, 2023 [1 favorite]

Googling Tassie + handfish + souvenir turned up a few options: enamel pins, soft toys, tea towels…
posted by rory at 6:18 PM on December 8, 2023 [2 favorites]

« Older Really CGI   |   Number of Dry Eyes in the House: Zero Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments