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Is the Cardinal Tetra an Annual Species in the wild?

On the internet there are a number of articles about the Cardinal Tetra which contain a statement about this fish very similar to the following one: “One that is effectively an annual species, and has a lifespan of just a single year in nature, but lives for several years in captivity.”

  Many of these are not sourced, and most of the ones that are give each other as sources.  Few of the articles give an explanation of the statement.  A couple of these articles explain that the Cardinal Tetra adults die of starvation after spawning.  I was sceptical about this.  The Cardinal tetra spawns in the flooded Amazonian forests.  This habitat is not only very large, but it has copious food for the young fry.  If the baby Cardinal tetras can find enough food to grow, surely the adults can find enough to survive?

I researched the question further, and found that the original reference appears to be a book published in 1977 by TFH Publications called "Characoids of the world", written by Jacques Géry.  

The scientific paper "The food spectrum of the cardinal - tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi, Characidae) in its natural habitat" confirmed my suspicion that the Cardinal Tetra is not likely to die of starvation.  This paper also explains the smaller size of the Cardinal tetra in the wild compared with aquariums specimens.

While I have no doubt that some Cardinal Tetras only live for one year in the wild, I seriously doubt that it necessarily does.

One of the reasons I suggest this is the reasonably long life span of the Cardinal Tetra in captivity. I have found many references to this fish living five years or more, and I have had Cardinals myself that have lived much longer than one year. 

Another reason is that I cannot see that in the wild there would be any condition that would allow huge numbers of the baby fish to survive, but would kill nearly all the adults.

To me, there would be selective advantage to any of thesefish that can live to spawn for several years rather than just one.

Sources
"The food spectrum of the cardinal - tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi, Characidae) in its natural habitat" , Characoids of the world by Jacques Géry.

  This fact sheet also appears on the international version of our website at bettatrading.com


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Amazon rain forest
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