‘Human-Toothed’ Pacu in Michigan Waters, Endangered Species Running Out of Time

pacu-fish-human-teeth
Pacu fish. Via Thinking Humanity

For Friday, Aug. 12, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/j100j9ftsyzmdjz/mr-great-lakes-8-12-16-pacu-endangered-species.mp3]

Fish with human-like teeth have been caught in Michigan waters.

The South American fish, called a pacu, uses its teeth for eating nuts and seeds, rather than people.

But three recent reports from anglers who reeled in a pacu are resulting in an announcement from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The message is, don’t release aquarium pets into the wild.

The non-native pacu is a popular aquarium fish.

Pacus are not considered invasive in Michigan because they are tropical fish — and not likely to survive Michigan winters.

Still, releasing a pet into the wild is almost never humane, the DNR says, because such animals are poorly equipped to fend off predators and can spread exotic diseases to native animals.

And, planting a fish of any kind in Michigan waters without a permit is illegal. A new statewide campaign offers solutions for aquarium and pond owners. More information is available from the DNR Michigan Invasive Species website.

prairie fringed orchid endangered threatened fish wildlife service
Prairie Fringed Orchid. Credit: USFWS

If you’re an endangered species, time may not be on your side.

Under the Endangered Species Act, there’s a two-year timeline for a species threatened with extinction to receive protection.

A study from the University of Missouri finds that many species are encountering much longer wait times. Scientists say such delays could lead to less global biodiversity.

There’s a Michigan-related example, of the prairie fringed orchid.

In the study, the authors document species that went extinct due to a delay in the process. The island night lizard was listed in 1.19 years, whereas the prairie fringed orchid took 14.7 years to be listed.

The lizard has since recovered and been removed from endangered status; the orchid – which grows in parts of Michigan – is still considered threatened.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

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