Werner Klotz, l’interview (VO anglaise)

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Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : You are well known by the French specialists in crustaceans, however we have very little information about you and your activities. We wish that the following questions will enable us to have a better outlook of your personal world.

All we know about you is your book (NDLR : “Süsswassergarnelen aus aller Welt”, voir en bas de page), the website Crusta10.de , and some forum in which you take an active part. Could you shortly introduce yourself to us?

Werner Klotz :

Werner KlotzAbout 10 years ago I was working on water insects like Mayflies and Stoneflies. One day a German aquarist asked me if I was able to determine the genus name of some freshwater shrimp he was rearing in his aquarium. I was never been working on freshwater shrimp until this day but he sent me some of his specimen and after a microscopically examination of these specimen I was able to tell him that his shrimp belong to the species Neocaridina denticulata sinensis. I published these findings in an internet forum and got a lot of reactions on my posting. Together with Andreas Karge and Chris Lukhaup I started a project to determine all shrimp known in the aquarium trade.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Could you tell us more about your own professional career, was your first professional activity linked with crustaceans ?

  • If yes, could you please briefly describe your job ?
  • If no, how and when did your interest for crustaceans appear ?

Werner Klotz :

If “professional” doses mean “main profession” or “to earn money” I am not a professional. Any engagement on freshwater shrimp taxonomy is just a hobby of mine.

When I was working on our project to determine shrimp sold in aquarium trade, Kristina von Rintelen who is working on freshwater shrimp phylogeny contacted me to determine some shrimp she collected in Malaysia. Two of these species were never been reported since their original description decades ago. By this we prepared a paper on these species in a scientific journal. When this paper was published I got some material of undescribed shrimp species from different places all over the world. Two descriptions of new species are published last year; some more are still in preparation.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : We were lucky enough to read your book (with the restriction caused by the German language for us) which you have written together with Andreas Karge and we consider that it is the best aquaristic reference work about shrimps. How did you take the leadership of such an adventure in the small crustacean field of activity ?

Werner Klotz :

When Andreas an me were starting on our book project we wanted to make a “little informative” booklet” on most popular shrimp in aquarium trade. Due there is also no summing up publication on all freshwater shrimp in scientific literature we tried to include as much species in our book as possible. Our knowledge on different species is basing on about 900 scientific publications in our literature collection and many discussions with shrimp taxonomists in China, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Panama and Great Britain. At least we had to limit the content of our book on species already known to aquarium trade or species we photographed during our field trips because we were unable to find a publisher for a book containing about 800 pages.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Do you have new projects in this field for example in a publication in the French language ?

Werner Klotz :

A few days ago we published a special edition of the French journal “l´aquarium” containing just freshwater invertebrates. (NDLR : Il s’agit du Hors-Serie N°12 d’Aquarium à la maison, voir la Revue de Presse).

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : We regularly visit your website Crusta10.de and we have noticed that you have done several study trips with Chris Lukhaup or Andreas Karge, how did these encounters developp ?

Werner Klotz :

Primary crusta10.de was a website basing on crayfish photos and information from Chris Lukhaup and Reinhard Pekny. A few years ago freshwater shrimp attained more and more interest in aquarium trade.
This times Andreas Karge has published first morphological determinations on Hong Kong Bee Shrimp and myself on the Algae Shrimp Neocaridina heteropoda. Chris called us for collaboration and the crusta10 team was expandet by Andreas and me. Last year the crusta10 team was enhanced by Alexandra Behrendt (freshwater snails), Moni Rademacher & Oliver Mengedoht (freshwater crabs).
It´s a goal of crusta10 to act as a link between aquarium and taxonomic people. Beside our field trips we was able to do some taxonomic work like the original descriptions of some freshwater crustaceans like Cherax holthuisi, Ch. peknyi, Ch. boesemani, Caridina thomasi and Macrobrachium agwi. Other descriptions like work on the Green Dwarf Shrimp Caridina cf. babaulti, the Bee Shrimp Caridina cf. cantonensis or 2 new species from Papua New Guinea are still in progress.

  • Cherax boesemani : Lukhaup, C. & Pekny, R., 2008. Cherax (Astaconephrops) boesemani, a new species of crayfish (Crustacea: Decapoda: Parastacidae) from the centre of the Vogelkop Peninsula in Irian Jaya (West New Guinea), Indonesia. Zoologische Mededelingen, 82(33), 331-340.

  • Cherax holthuisi : Lukhaup, C. & Pekny, R., 2006. Cherax (Cherax) holthuisi, a new species of crayfish (Crustacea: Decapoda: Parastacidae) from the centre of the Vogelkop Peninsula in Irian Jaya (West New Guinea), Indonesia. Zoologische Mededelingen, 80(1), 101-108.

  • Cherax peknyi : Lukhaup, C. & Herbert, B., 2008. A new species of crayfish (Crustacea: Decapoda: Parastacidae) from the Fly River Drainage, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 52(2), 213-219.

  • Macrobrachium agwi : Werner Klotz, Macrobrachium agwi - a new species of freshwater prawn (Decapoda: Palaemonidae) from East Bengal, India. Zootaxa 1844: 47-54 (6 Aug. 2008)

  • Caridina thomasi : Kristina von Rintelen , Andreas Karge, Werner Klotz, News from a small island - first record of a freshwater shrimp (Decapoda, Atyidae, Caridina) from Peleng, Banggai Islands, Indonesia. Journal of Natural History, 42: 2243-2256, 2008.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Speaking about “discovery ” or “research” trips, do you have any new project in this field of activity ?

Werner Klotz :

Yes, a lot of. But our trips are limited due restricted time and budget. This spring we want to go to Southern China to visit the habitats of the famous bee shrimp and some Neocaridina species. A second trip should be done to Puerto Rico to collect a male specimen of a still undescribed fan shrimp species.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Do you have a favourite destination to which you already went or that you wish to discover or re-discover ?

Werner Klotz :

Maybe the mountain regions of Papua New Guinea. A lot of undiscovered crayfish and shrimp species would be expected in lakes and rivers of this island. But Papua New Guinea is far away and it is not easy to get permission for scientific work in this area. A field trip to Southern Sulawesi would also be very interesting because a lot of endemic water fauna will be found there.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : If you had to choose only one specy to illustrate your passion, what would be your choice ? and why ?

Werner Klotz :

There is no “favorite” freshwater species of mine. Some american Macrobrachium like M. hancocki are very interesting because they do not only show phantastic life coloration but also showing an interesting social behavior (picture of M. hancocki by Chris Lukhaup). An other favorite of mine is the european species Dugastella valentina (pictures by Werner Klotz). A small freshwater shrimp which seems to show a kind of brood care.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : We read that you published scientific articles with K. von Rintelen and Andreas Karge. We think that it is a kind of personal outcome of which you must be very proud. How do you feel about it ? Are you thinking of changing your professional activity in order to spend more time with this ?

Werner Klotz :

Publishing in scientific journals is satisfactory without any doubts. Finding some approval of professional taxonomists all over the world as well. But preparing of a scientific paper is also very time consuming particularly when it should be done beside a “normal” job. But salaried jobs are very rare in freshwater shrimp taxonomy.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Considering all the works you have achieved, what is your best memory ?

Werner Klotz :

There are a lot of fascinating moments. To look beneath the surface of a tropical river into the habitat of tropical shrimps with the aid of diving goggles is very fascinating for me. Or positive response from other scientists following a publication of a new paper.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Many enthusiastic tropical fish aquarists secretly dream to discover a new specimen and to name it after their own name, you are on the right way to succeed in this matter. Do you have any scoop to disclose to us ?

Werner Klotz :

I think no scientist will name a new described species after his own name but species will be named on other persons merited to zoological science. Recently we named a new species of Caridina on Thomas von Rintelen [1] who is working on freshwater snail and shrimp phylogeny, an other new freshwater shrimp I was named by the German workgroup on freshwater invertebrates, AGW be me [2]. A few weeks ago we finished a paper on two new species of Caridina from Papua New Guniea of which one will be named after an ancient explorer of New Guinea which collected this shrimp almost 100 years ago.


  • [1] Caridina thomasi : Kristina von Rintelen , Andreas Karge, Werner Klotz, News from a small island - first record of a freshwater shrimp (Decapoda, Atyidae, Caridina) from Peleng, Banggai Islands, Indonesia. Journal of Natural History, 42: 2243-2256, 2008.

  • [2] Macrobrachium agwi : Werner Klotz, Macrobrachium agwi - a new species of freshwater prawn (Decapoda: Palaemonidae) from East Bengal, India. Zootaxa 1844: 47-54 (6 Aug. 2008) (Crusta10.de)

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : You have become a scientific referent in the crustacean field, how did you manage to learn such an amount of knowledge more specificaly morphological examination under the microscope ? Did you already have some basic knowledge ?

Werner Klotz :

Before starting with freshwater shrimp taxonomy I was doing some studies on water insects. By this microscopically examinations was nothing new to me. But it was necessary to read a lot of taxonomical literature to become familiar with different groups of shrimp.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Is the complexity of systematics in the crustaceans a property in this field? or can we observe it in other big family species ? Do you have any explanation for this ?

Werner Klotz :

Also in other invertebrates like molluscs or insects the systematics is subject to changes. New methods like phylogenetical analyses reveal failures or inaccuracies in traditional morphological taxonomy. In my opinion we have to combine these two methods to understand true relationships and evolutions in nature.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : As you have either a scientific and an aquarist point of view, do you think that our passion could be incompatible with the respect of environment and the protection of natural habitats ?

Werner Klotz :

This point of view has been discussed for many times. Extensive collections and sampling of animals endemic to a small area or habitat probably could lead to a decrease of populations. We should focus on breeding of species for aquarium trade to protect natural populations. On the other hand aquatic animals like freshwater shrimp are much more endangered by other economic activities like mining for heavy metals like copper or nickel or waste disposal near to or in lakes and rivers. The central lakes of Sulawesi were almost unknown to Europeans until the discovery of the colourful shrimp living there. But there are some large nickel mines near Lake Poso. Maybe the popularity of these shrimp can help to draw somebody’s attention to this problem.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Do we have any means nowadays to protect and make people aware of their responsibilities in collecting species in Sulawesi for example ?

Werner Klotz :

See above.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : In France we shared the strong infatuation with the new shrimps of Sulawesi, do you think that this region or even others could reveal new discoveries as fantastic as this one ?

Werner Klotz :

Yes, of course. In scientific collections we have already some more species from this region not imported for aquarium trade until now. One undescribed species with body coloration near bumblebee shrimp from China was imported for aquarium trade from Sulawesi these days.

Very little is known on the coloration of freshwater shrimp from some great lakes in Central Africa comparable with the lakes of Sualwesi.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna :  Via Crusta10, We followed your journey to Hong-Kong and in South China, that you mention in your interview. Did your trip go well?

 Of course, even though we was unable to visit all locations we want to got to we attained a lot of information on the natural habitats of freshwater shrimp. (NDLR : pictures of travel, China and Hong Kong)

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Have you observed anything interesting? Maybe some new species?

We have to do a lot of scientific work (microscopical examinations or genetical analyses) prior we are able to tell if any of the collected shrimp belong to undescribed species. This will last a few months at minimum. But we were able to photograph collected bee shrimp and bumble bee shrimp in their natural habitat. This was never been done before.
Maybe some of these informations will allow us to distinguish the black-and-white bees shrimp from other memebers of this species group like Caridina serrata, C. cantonensis or C. trifasciata. In this matter maybe it will be possible to put a new name on the popular bee shrimp.

Tipic, pour Crusta-Fauna : Dear Werner, the Crusta-Fauna team thanks you very warmly for the time you spent to answer back our questions and further on to enable our members to know more about you.

Werner Klotz :

My pleasure !

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