The Story of the Glass Fish from Papua, a Habitat Threatened by Illegal Gold Mining – Glass fish live in Papua and can also be found in Australia. Unfortunately, the existence of this fish is threatened by pollution from illegal gold mining.

Long ago, Papua and Australia were one landmass. During the Pleistocene time, about 17,000 years ago, sea level conditions had been very low. At that time Australia and Papua were incorporated as a unique landmass known as the Sahul Land (Sahulland).

The flora and fauna living in Australia and Papua show the similarities. This land connection allows fauna from mainland Papua to roam in Australia, and vice versa from Australia to Papua.

Fauna similarities between Papua and Australia can still be observed today. Freshwater fish species found in southern Papua are also found in northern Australia.

One type of freshwater fish is glass fish or nurse fish. Glass fish is a fish endemic to Papua which is very strange, the males carry eggs, which are stored in hooks on their heads. Female fish do not have a hook.

Glass fish are known to only live and are easily found in the Digul River and swamps in Boven Digoel Regency, Bian River, Kumbe River, and Maro River in Merauke Regency, Siretz River, Betz River, Omanesep River, Fayit River, Fai River and Mamats River in Asmat Regency and Wawiyer Lake, Fakfak Regency.

Glass fish are fish species in the Kurtidae family. These fishes eat small fish, shrimp and insect larvae. Glass fish are generally 14 cm to 33 cm long, with the maximum length ever caught being 63 cm.

Glass fish also have many names. Besides being known as glass fish, there are also those who call it glassfish, nurse fish or nurseryfish, breakfastfish, humphead, and incubatorfish. In scientific language, this fish is named Kurtus gulliveri castelnau.

Gulliveri is a specific name in honor of Thomas Allen Gulliver, who worked in the Australian postal and telegraph service, who lived near the Norman River, Gulf of Carpentaria.

Gulliver collected a number of specimens of glass fish he caught in the Norman River. In 1878, Castelnau described the glass fish from a number of specimens collected by Thomas Allen Gulliver, and gave it the scientific name Kurtus gulliveri castelnau.

Currently, the glass fish habitat in Papua is threatened by illegal gold mining in the upstream rivers and illegal logging of trees along the rivers in the interior of Papua, this causes the rivers to become polluted with heavy metals and the water becomes blurred due to mud from mining activities.

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