Award 2017

Parosphromenus Project Award 20162017 for spe­cial achievements

The Parosphromenus Project reg­u­larly awards a prize for spe­cial achieve­ments that sup­port the aims of the project. The award is sym­bolic; it has no mate­r­ial form. The award for the years 2016 und 2017 will be pre­sented fol­low­ing sug­ges­tions from the mem­bers of the steer­ing group to the biol­o­gist and philosopher

Mr. Went­ian Shi (Guangzhou/​China) and the N.J.B. Team from China

In the years 2016 and 2017, Went­ian Shi and his team­mates Yuhan Ji and Jian­hui Dai have earned spe­cial mer­its. In par­tic­u­lar, they have thor­oughly tried to redis­cover the species Parosphromenus deiss­neri, endemic to the Indone­sian island of Bangka, which was already described in 1859 by the Dutch ichthy­ol­o­gist Pieter Bleeker as the first species of the genus.

In recent decades, many more species of the genus Parosphromenus have been dis­cov­ered in Malaysia and Indone­sia and sev­eral found their way also into the tanks of the hob­by­ists, often fal­sly deter­mined as „deiss­neri“. There were only very few pri­vate imports which actu­ally referred cor­rectly to this species. Unfor­tu­nately we were not able to pre­serve them and their off­springs in the aquaria.

There­fore, Went­ian Shi and the Team N.J.B. in the year 2016 vis­ited all the loca­tions known by lit­er­a­ture, inter­net and oral com­mu­ni­ca­tion, of this species on Bangka and thor­oughly searched for it. Unfor­tu­nately, they found all the for­mer habi­tats now irre­triev­ably destroyed, with­out rain­for­est, with­out black water, often even dried out com­pletely, with­out water at all, cul­ti­vated, or (as in other places) pre­pared to serve as agri­cul­tural areas for the cul­ti­va­tion of oil palm trees.

In con­se­quence, we had to get used to the idea that this first-​described species of sym­bolic impor­tance, P. deiss­neri, which had mean­while become extinct also in the aquaria, was lost forever.

Went­ian Shi, how­ever, did not accept that as fact. After exten­sive dis­cus­sions, inter­net and map stud­ies, he and Yuhan Ji trav­elled, later joined by the Team Bor­neo, once again to Bangka in the spring of 2017 mak­ing the attempt to search for last relics of the once exten­sive wet vir­gin forests of the island, which had never been vis­ited by experts so far because of their remote­ness or lack of roads and paths. This time, at one of these dis­tant and lim­ited places, they have, in a small pop­u­la­tion, actu­ally redis­cov­ered the true P. deiss­neri. Went­ian Shi brought some young ani­mals alive to Europe, passed them on to good breed­ers or raised them him­self, and a few weeks ago also got off­spring of them. All the friends of the species and the whole genus have been very relieved by this outcome.

For this out­stand­ing achieve­ment, the Parosphromenus Project awards him and the whole N.J B.-team from China this hon­orary prize.

The steer­ing group of the Parosphromenus Project

(P. Chaloupka/​Pilsen, R. Eggli/​Basel, P. Finke/​Bielefeld, B. Bussler/​Hamburg, Chr. Koppitz/​Halle, H. Schoubye/​Kopenhagen, B. Wilden/​Detmold)

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