Biological invasion is a pervasive negative force of global change, especially in its effects on sensitive freshwater ecosystems. Even protected areas are usually not immune. Ptychobarbus chungtienensis
is a threatened freshwater fish now almost confined to Bita Lake, in the Shangri-La region of Yunnan province, China. Its existence is threatened by the introduction of non-native weatherfishes ( Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
and Paramisgurnus dabryanus
) by an unusual method known as ‘prayer animal release’. Periodic surveys revealed the ratio of invasive weatherfishes to P. chungtienensis
has been increasing since the former species was first recorded from the lake in August, 2009. Ptychobarbus chungtienensis
shows low genetic diversity in the relict Lake Bita population. Weatherfishes, however, have highly successful survival strategies. The degree of dietary overlap between the species is alarming and perhaps critical if food is found to be a limiting factor.