A one year old male Aphanius saourensis from my broodstock
My broodstock of this Algerian species is based on fishes originally collected from Oued Saoura basin near Mazzer, the last known population of the species. They have been collected already in the 1990th and the stock is kept by several killifish enthusiasts since. Meanwhile, the species seems to be extinct in the wild. In 2013, the German Killifish Association in collaboration with me as the IUCN FFSG chair the European Region funded a small project to support Mahmoud Bacha from Bejaia Universityin Algeria to search again for the species at its type locality and other waterbodies in the Oued Saoura. Mahmoud and his team checked the type locality and several other water bodies but with depressing results only. Beside Gambusia holbrooki, only alien tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) could be found. There was no trace of the Aphanius. Naturally, a negative record is difficult to make and there might be still the chance to re-discover the species in the wild. But based on the actual results, we should treat the captive stock, which exist in some European countries, in a way as if the wild population would be gone. From the captive stock, I received three pairs which spawned without problems. But the species is not very fecund and the juveniles are very small and grow only slowly. Only very early hatched juveniles become mature in their second, others in their third year. In the first three years I had this species, I did not make it to breed a larger number of fishes due to several accidents and problems. Since 2015, I have a good broodstock of about 50 fishes and enough eggs and juveniles. This is the most sensitive Aphanius I keep and needs always a double check if all is fine.