Hall 3 Conservation Projects
In Hall Three you can find tanks of fish which are part of our conservation projects. Some of these fish are extremely endangered, and some are even classed as extinct in the wild.
Two of our most rare species are the Mexican Pupfish and the Greek Killifish.
The Greek Killifish
ZSL has linked up with the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Inland Waters in Greece to undertake field assessments and population surveys of the Critically Endangered Greek Killifish, Valencia letourneuxi.
This family contains only two species (the other confined to Spain) which form relict populations of a group of fish once more widespread in the Mediterranean. Today these fish are being severely threatened by pollution, introduced species and tourism development.
The Greek Killifish is a habitat specialist, which requires clear, clean spring water in order to survive. At London Zoo we are maintaining two genetically distinct populations of this species and trying to learn more about its specific survival requirements as well as gather information about spawning and interaction with non-native introduced species. The more that we can learn about a species, the greater chance there is of being able to help with its survival.
You can see our Greek Killifish on display in Hall one, they are quite small and shy so you will have to be very quiet and patient when observing the tank in order to be able to see them properly.
The Mexican Pupfish
Here at ZSL we are also working to maintain three Mexican Pupfish species, two of which are now actually extinct in the wild, because their habitats dried up due to agriculture. Here at ZSL we have one of only six collections in the world. These fascinating fish have lots of attitude, with males zealously securing and defending their selected territories and spending their whole day trying to entice willing females to spawn.
Because they will eat their own eggs, aquarists at London Zoo remove the spawning mops (made of nylon yarn) each day and search through for the tiny eggs. These eggs are carefully removed from the mops and placed into special hatching aquaria where they develop for up to a week before hatching.
The young pupfish are then fed a protein-rich diet and reared separately until they are large enough to join the adult colony. You can see the territorial spawning behaviour of the Charco La Palma Pupfish in Hall 1 of the Aquarium. You will probably notice the nylon spawning mops in the tank if you arrive early in the morning.