Hobbies: Piranhas, Anyone?

Among U.S. tropical-fish fanciers, who own some 23 million aquariums, by far the most popular species is the 190 Scarlet Characin, whose Latin handle is Cheirodon axelrodi. Among the most expensive is the brown Discus, or Symphysodon aequifasciata axelrodi, for which hobbyists pay $300 for a breeding pair. Both of these, as well as about two dozen other varieties of tropical fish, are named for a burly, sometimes surly, businessman-scientist named Herbert R. Axelrod. At 39, Dr. Axelrod has been the supreme sage on tropical fish for so long that many people...

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