To: Potential U.S. participants: Jonathan Baskin, Warren Burgess, Brooks Burr, John Friel, Michael Hardman, Dean Hendrickson, Michael Littman, Heok Hee Ng, Leo Nico, Steven Norris, Paulo Petry, Michael Retzer, Scott Schaefer, Robert Schmidt, Donald Stewart, Richard Vari, Stephen Walsh, Stan Weitzman


From: Larry Page (, John Lundberg (, Mark Sabaj (, Carl Ferraris (, and Jonathan Armbruster (


Date: 14 May 2002

We are preparing a proposal to be submitted to the Biotic Surveys & Inventories Program (BS&I) of the National Science Foundation and are contacting you to solicit your input and participation in the project.

The objective of the BS&I Program is species-level discovery and description. We are proposing to conduct a five-year inventory that will result in the descriptions of all of the catfishes of the world. Catfishes are selected because they are the most diverse clade of fishes with a worldwide distribution, they are the subject of investigation by a large number of scientists and, as we all know, are extraordinarily interesting organisms. We are contacting you because of your taxonomic expertise on one or more groups of catfishes.

The primary product of this project will be published descriptions of all species of catfishes that currently are undescribed. Additional products will be:
1. a website devoted to species-level diversity of catfishes,
2. an electronic mail listserver to facilitate communication among catfish taxonomists,
3. new collections of catfishes from locations where undescribed species are likely to be found,
4. the training of students and postdocs in catfish taxonomy and systematics.

In accordance with the objective of the BS&I Program, this project is restricted to species discovery and description. The program requires a high rate of productivity. The ALL CATFISH SPECIES PROJECT will facilitate the independent and original description of many undescribed catfish species already known to experts. It also will result in the discovery and description of unknown species of catfishes through careful review of unstudied catfish specimens already in natural history collections, and through targeted exploration and collecting at locations in South America, Africa and Asia known or expected to harbor diverse catfish faunas. In addition to its own field initiatives, this project will forge mutually productive links with several relevant ongoing or nascent projects of ichthyological exploration of catfish-rich waters.

We plan to develop a method for rapid, peer-reviewed publication of species descriptions at no publication cost to authors or their institutions. All manuscripts accepted for publication will be posted on the web site, where additional images or other material related to the species descriptions can be posted. Some participants also will choose to author catfish pages for the separate web-based Tree of Life; see (

Funds will be available for participants to travel to museums or to conduct fieldwork, and for printing costs related to the publication of species descriptions. The project will also sponsor workshops for participants. This project cannot fund studies that are limited to higher-level catfish phylogeny, molecular diversity and evolution, or ecology. Although investigations of these and other aspects of catfish biology are of interest to all of us, they are beyond the scope of the BS&I program.

We seek to be inclusive of taxonomists who are actively working on catfish species and we expect a large number of participants in the U.S. and abroad. Toward that end, we invite your participation, and your questions and comments. If you choose to participate, please let us know by June 1 and indicate the catfish genera and families that you work on. We will contact you again about the level of your participation and funding opportunities.

Because this proposal will solicit funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, this initial message is being sent only to potential participants in the U.S. However, we will involve catfish taxonomists around the world and will appreciate receiving from you a list of catfish taxonomists whom you believe should be included (see our preliminary list below). Please send us the names, addresses, and email addresses for additional active catfish taxonomists whom you think should be involved and indicate the genera/families of catfishes under study by them.

An email message similar to this one will be sent to all potential foreign participants. Feel free to suggest any changes or additional information you would like to see included in the next message to go out. We also will get together as a group at this year's annual meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Kansas City to talk about strategy and progress of proposal preparation; if you let us know that you wish to participate, we will keep you posted on the date and time.

Thank you for your cooperation and we look forward to your active participation in documenting catfish species of the world. We expect this project to generate a huge amount of scientific information on catfishes and to lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of biodiversity. We also are hopeful that ALL CATFISH SPECIES will serve as a model for other all-species inventories.

Potential participants- US
Baskin, J.
Burgess, W.
Burr, B.
Friel, J.
Hardman, M.
Hendrickson, D.
Littmann, M.
Ng, H.H.
Nico, L.
Norris, S.
Petry, P.
Retzer, M.
Schaefer, S.
Schmidt, R.
Stewart, D.
Vari, R.P.
Walsh, S.
Weitzman, S.

Abreu, T.
Akama, A.
Allen, G.R.
Aquino, A.
Arratia, G.
Ataur Rahman, A.
Azpelicueta, M.
Baena, E.G.
Bills, R.
Bockmann, F.A.
Britski, H.
Britto, M.
Buitrago, U.
Cardoso, A.R.
Castro, R.M.C.
Chan, B.P.L.
Coad, B.W.
de Pinna, M.C.C.
De Vos
Fernandez, L.
Fumihito, A.
Garavello, J.C.
Ghazzi, M.S.
Gosztonyi, A.E.
Guazzelli, G.M.
Gustiano, R.
Kaialola, P.
Keith, P.
Kottelat, M.
Krudpan, C.
Langeani, F.
Lasso A., C.A.
Lim, K.K.P.
Lima, F.C.T.
Lucinda, P.H.F.
Mirza, M.R.
Mo, T.
Montoya-Burgos, J.-I.
Moreira, C.R.
Muller, S.
Musikasinthorn, P.
Nascimento, Carlos
Ng, P.
Oliveira, J.C.
Ortega, H.
Oyakawa, O.
Paixão, A.C.
Pereira, E.
Pethyiagoda, R.
Provenzano, F.
Rapp Py Daniel, L.
Reis, R.E.
Roberts, T.
Rodiles, R.
Royero, R.v
Salcedo, N.J.
Shibatta, O.A.
Shunping He
Skelton, P.H.
Soares-Porto, L.M.
Sousa, L.M.
Taphorn, D.
Teugels, G.
Vidthayanon, C.
Vieira, F.
Weber, C.
Wirjoatmodjo, S.
Wosiacki, W.B.
Zuanon, J.