Ng & Kottelat, 2004
This month (November 2013), Asian catfish
specialist Adrian Taylor returns to give us another insight into
the so called "wasp cats" with a look at "The Wasp
Stream Catfish" one of the diminutive members of the Akysidae
family, Akysis vespa.
lthough most of the genera of Akysis, Parakysis
and Pseudobagarius are usually referred to as wasp or
bee cats, this small member of the Akysis genus carries
the tag ‘vespa’ due its general likeness in colouration
and markings to the insect family Vespidae which are more commonly
called Hornets and Wasps.
Akysis vespa is one of the smallest
members of the Akysidae familyand they are found in southern Myanmar
along the Ataran River drainage system, around 13 miles from the
border of Thailand. The river at the point of collection had clear
but fast flowing water with a substrate made up mainly of gravel.
The Erethistid, Caelatoglanis zonatus, is found sympatrically
with A. vespa.
Akysis vespa is relatively easy to keep alive under aquarium
conditions; as long as good to high water quality is maintained.
Feeding these small ‘wasp cats’ is unproblematic as
long as a varied diet consisting mainly of live foods such as
bloodworms, white worms, daphnia and brine shrimps along with
frozen foods such as bloodworms, glass worms and small sized mysis
shrimps is served up as a alternating diet.
Type Locality: Myanmar
(southern) : Ataran River Drainage.
Aquarium Care: These are
ideal catfish for the smaller sized aquarium. Filtration is down
to personal preference; however, it is recommended that the filter
out flow should be sufficient to create a decent amount of water
movement. Substrate similar to those found in their natural habitat
should be aimed for; although not essential some clumps of sturdy
plants should be positioned around the margins of the tank. Fish
such as Brachydanio kerri, Barbus titteya and
Rasbora brittani make excellent tank mates.
There are four pairs of barbels; these being:
One pair of short, thin nasal barbels. One pair of long, thin maxillary
barbels that reach as far back as to the median of the pectoral
fin base, and two pairs of mandibular barbels, the outer mandibular
barbels are long and thin and are similar in size to the maxillary
barbels, with the inner mandibular barbels being somewhat shorter
by a third. The eyes are small and are doso-laterally positioned.
Most specimens have distinct non-interrupted
vertical bands of yellow and brown, it is not unusual that some
specimens have a thin irregular horizontal stripe, which may or
may not be intermittent or complete that bridge the yellow and
brown bands, usually along the lateral line. The head colouration
varies from specimen to specimen but in general it is coloured
yellow to ochre with small smudges or blotches of light brown.
The ventral surface is coloured creamy to light yellow.
These are ideal catfish for the smaller sized
Akysis vespa has been successfully
spawned under aquarium conditions after similar methods to those
used in spawning members of the South American Corydoradinae catfishes
were implemented. The interesting thing about the spawning of
A. vespa is that the yolk sac appears to be emerald green
Females have a heavier
looking body shape. Males are slimmer by comparison.
A varied diet consisting mainly of live
foods such as bloodworms, white worms, daphnia and brine shrimps
along with frozen foods such as bloodworms, glass worms and small
sized mysis shrimps.
: A = without; kysis = bladder,
in reference to the lack of a swimbladder.
vespa: Latin word for Wasp, due to the colour
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On top of the head, by the nostrils. (nasal barbels)
Maxillary barbels: Pertaining to the upper jaw.
Mandibular barbels: Pertaining to the lower jaw.
Pectoral fin: The paired fins just behind the head.
Lateral line: A sensory line, along the sides of