Mastacembelus argus Bleeker, 1850, Moluccan Archipelago.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
German: Feueraal; Vietnamese: Cб chachlua.
Grows to 39.4 in (100 cm). Soft-rayed portions of the median fins and pectoral fin have a sharply defined white distal margin. The basal portion of the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins is dark and that of the pectoral fin is dark or has broad vertical bars. Head and anterior part of the body have longitudinal red and black bands; the rest of the body has red spots or elongated marks on a black background.
In Asia, from Thailand and Cambodia to Indonesia.
A large lowland floodplain species occurring in slow-moving rivers and inundated plains. Also found in streams and lakes.
Under aquarium conditions individuals tend to spend daylight hours in a preferred shelter spot.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds on benthic insect larvae, worms, and some plant material. Under aquarium conditions, specimens larger than 12 in (30 cm) in total length become predatory, hunting and eating smaller fishes. Vulnerable to larger fish, water snakes, crocodilians, and fish-eating birds as well as fishermen.
Nothing is know of the
of this species. Other mastacembelids are egg scatterers, depositing a few eggs at a time in fine-leafed aquatic plants.
Not listed by the IUCN. This species has become rare in recent years due to human consumption and overfishing.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Often seen in the aquarium trade. Bred in fish farms in Bangkok.
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