Ah! The persephones! Silly bettas. :(
I lost my five beloved strohi juvies that I got from Littlebettafish right after moving house - and I don't know what happened. They just.. died. No sign of disease at all, they were a little stressed and pale on arrival to the temporary tank, but they are toughies and not likely to drop dead of that. I hate to think ill of folks but I had to wonder if my horrid ex housemate did something to them during the move...
Anyways. I am still a wilds enthusiast. I should have a tank ready for the ideii female in November, and I am hoping to maybe get her a new husband.
As for the ethics of wild-caught pairs.. the other side to that is that many of the wild betta's natural pockets of habitat are vanishing, and the bettas with them. Captive breeding may be the only hope of survival for some of these species, so I find it hard to see that as detrimental.
If more betta enthusiasts got into wilds, and bought their fish from a variety of captive sources, they'd at least have a good chance of continuing on via hobbyists, and possibly being re-introduced to the wild, once it gets through to people that wholesale land development and water drainage isn't a good idea for the environment. As unlikely as that is..
Here's some pics of the strohi while they were at my place. There was one male, and probably four females (they were still juvies, but some were maturing faster than others, I am pretty sure there was only one male though). I miss them horribly.
The boy is the blue one. He got so dark at times as to look jet black. The last pic above is the girls, arguing over territory. They were very territorial and the girls flared at each other more the male, I think, but they didn't get more violent than a swift nip here and there -- mostly, it was the display which sorted arguments out before they came to blows.
One of my favourite things about them was the fantastic, prolonged 'dance' the dominant female and her male did before spawning. This could go on for a couple of days, and was really something to watch.
I very closely heed all Littlebettafish's posts on wilds here (I'm not stalking you, LBF, honest!! No, really!) as she has a lot of experience with them as is obvious from her post above. I am already planning on finding a source for custom cut perspex lids for any tanks for the larger species, and thinking up designs for these that will discourage them being knocked off by overenthusiastic jumpers.
Wilds are challenging, for sure -- but omg, so worth it. If you like observing fish behaviour, get wilds. They are massively entertaining, and full of surprises.