Welcome bundle of handfish joy

The University of Tasmania has proudly announced the arrival of 21 red handfish hatchlings, the second successful captive breeding event which is part of efforts to save the rare species.

The precious newborns – shorter than a centimetre when hatched – are equivalent to a quarter of the known wild population of red handfish (Thymichthys politus), which is thought to be fewer than 100 adults.

2. Red handfish hatched day 1 8mm credit andrea williamson copy
Red handfish hatched / Credit: Andrea Williamson

Dr Andrew Trotter, who co-leads the conservation breeding program at the University’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies says the eggs took about 50 days to hatch and were cared for by their “doting mother”.

“Our aim now is to grow this year’s hatchlings into healthy sub-adults so we can release them and bolster the dwindling wild population. Ultimately, we want them to breed in the wild,” he says.

Before this bundle of red handfish is released into the wild, the brood will go through “handfish school”, a program preparing them to survive in the wild.

3. Red handfish mum guarding her eggs at day14 andrea williamson copy
Red handfish mum guarding her eggs at day 14 / Credit: Andrea Williamson

To read more about the community working to save this rare species, check out ‘Friends of the Red Handfish’in the latest Cosmos Magazine (Issue 101). 

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