Breeding Lebanese Garra festai

There are several fish species in the Mediterranean which are known from one spot only. One of these is the Critically Endangered Garra festai from Lebanon.

Garra festai, which is superficially a bit similar to a small G. variabilis, is something like a mystery fish. Beside the fact, that it is highly endemic to a small wetland, in Lebanon, the Ammiq marshes, it is one of the least known freshwater fishes of the Mediterranean. Garra festai was before placed in the paraphyletic genus Hemigrammocapoeta but molecular data show, that all but one Hemigrammocapoeta should be moved to Garra. A small broodstock collected together with Michel Bariche in 2011 was placed in a 140 x 70 cm outdoor water container full of plants where they turned out to be fractional plant spawners. Starting to spawn in June, last larvae were found in early September. About 50 juveniles could be raised without much efforts. Juveniles were already mature after the first winter. This demonstrates, that it should be pretty easy to establish an Ex-Situ population of this species in the case, the marshes will completely dry out one day.