The Diversity Of Goldfish Varieties
Goldfish varieties are extremely diverse. The Chinese have four main categories that they use to sort goldfish. These are the “dragon eye” for goldfish with extended yes, “egg” for a goldfish without a dorsal fin (bubble eyes without dorsal fins would fit into this category), “wen” for goldfish with dorsal fins and fancy tails and “ce” or grass for all others.
Goldfish are a member of the carp family and one of the earliest domesticated fish. Goldfish in their natural environment tend to be an olive green, though some species of domesticated goldfish are hardy enough to survive long enough to breed with their wild relatives. Recent research from Japan suggests that the crucian carp was the ancestor of the goldfish, but has diverged genetically since then enough to be a separate species.
In the West, goldfish are sorted by breed rather than category, with common breeds being the Black moor, Bubble eye, Butterfly tail, Calico, Calico fantail, Celestial eye, Comet, Common, Crown pearlscale, Fantail, Lionchu, Lionhead, Oranda, Panda moor, Pearlscale, Pompom, Ranchu, Ryukin, Shubunkin, Telescope eye, and Veiltail.
Goldfish are first recorded in Chinese records from 1162. Red, gold and orange goldfish are reported at this point. Additional colors are recorded in 1276, and fancy tail goldfish probably arose between 1400-1500. In 1502 goldfish were introduced to Japan, and by 1611 had reached Portugal. From there they spread into Europe. Goldfish reached North America in 1874.
First, the Common goldfish is the standard starting point, similar to the ancestor species other than the skin colors. The Ryukin is a Japanese breed, which is similar to a fantail with a humped back. Bubble Eyes have fluid filled sacks under each eye. Fantails have a dual lobed tail. Black Moors are a dark fish with a slight hump back and large eyes growing from the side of their heads. Comets originated in the US in the 1880s, possessing a long, flowing tailfin. Lionheads have compact bodies, no dorsal fins, a double tail and extensive headgrowth. Lionheads are a Chinese breed, similar to the Japanese Ranchu, which has more back arch and a distinctive tail tuck. Calicos are much like standard goldfish but with distinctive color schemes. Calico Fantails are smaller than standard Calicos and with typical color details around the belly and face. Celestial Eyes start out looking like standard goldfish but as they get older the eyes grow and turn upwards. Crown Pearlscales are named for their distinct pearly appearing scales and have distinct, bulging bellies. The Lionchu has the body of a Ranchu and the head of a Lionhead. Orandas have paired tailfins, a dorsal fin and a fleshy outgrowth on the top of the head and sides of the face. Panda Moors are a recent breed, though easily obtained, and are essentially black and white fantails. Pearlscales have distinct pearlescent scales. Pompoms have fleshy nasal lobes. Shubunkin are single tailed goldfish orange, white, black, red, and blue markings. Telescope Eyes have protruding eyes on stalks. Vieltails are fantails with long fins.
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