Hara hara (Hamilton,
he catfish that we are spotlighting this month is small, from Asia,
and was once situated for many years in the Sisoridae family but
was re-located back into the Erithistidae family by de Pinna. This
new family was first established in 1822 by Bleeker, and resurrected
again in 1996 by de Pinna.
Identifying the "Asian Moth cats" is no easy matter
with at the last count of about 7 species, not to mention the
Erithistes species of Moth Cats which are also very alike.
To go some way to identifying these species we have Erethistes
filamentosus which sports
a long filament to the top ray of the caudal fin, H.
jerdoni which has very long pectoral spines and is also
very much smaller in size, H.
horai which grows larger and has a larger adipose fin.
These are the most common, along with H. hara for the
"Moth Cats" seen in the aquarium trade today.
On another note, Talwar & Jhingran (1992), state that both
H. filamentosa Blyth, 1860 (E. filamentosus)
& H. saharsai Datta Munshi & Srivastava, 1988
are synonyms of Hara hara, just confirming how alike
members of this genera are.
Dorsal view of head of Hara jerdoni to show occipital
process reaching basal bone of dorsal fin. Longer length
of pectoral spines.
B. Dorsal view of head of Hara hara
to show occipital process not reaching basal bone of dorsal
fin and pectoral spine shorter than head length. (Both
figures after Hora, S.L. 1949. Rec.Indian Mus.
47, Plate 11, figs. 7 & 2 respectively)
Why are they called "Moth Cats"?. Hamilton who described
Hara hara, remarked on the colour and pattern of the
fins as being very like the wings of moths.
These fish are beginning to appear again in the U.K. in the last
couple of years as the last time I acquired a Hara species
it was H. jerdoni in 1986, when they were rediscovered
in Bihar and Assam a year earlier, and exported via a development
Have a go with them if you can find them in your local aquatic
outlet and you also may be lucky enough to spawn them and hopfully
redistribute them around to make these catfish more popular in
Remarks: There are some publications
that sight this species as Erethistes hara due to a paper
published in 2006 by Ichthyologists Alfred W Thompson & Lawrence
M. Page of the Florida Museum of Natural History. Ferraris (2007)
also stated that the Erethistidae be moved back into the Sisoridae
Pectoral spine shorter (1.05-1.08) than head
length. Occipital process, cleithral process, scapular process all
prominent and naked. Humeral process prominent on ventral side.
4 pairs of barbels. Rayed dorsal fin with 5 or 6 rays and a spine.
A combination of brown and cream vertical
bands after the posterier of dorsal fin. Maxillary & mandibular
barbels with alternative blackish/brown bands.
Try and buy a group of them as they will
prosper better in their own company than singularly. Furnish a small
aquarium with sand, rockwork and driftwood with plenty of hiding
places. Keep up with the regular water changes, keeping the water
temperature in the mid seventies, as they can take cooler water,
but will struggle if it rises into the eighties. So basically we
have a cool water catfish here. You don't need a powerfull filter
to chase the water around the tank just normal water movement from
an internal power filter will suffice.
There has been a report of the breeding of
Hara jerdoni by an aquarist here in the U.K. where they laid
their eggs in a spawning mop. The eggs had a black nucleus and had
a jelly like substance surrounding them. This species may have been
Hara hara instead of H. jerdoni as stated in the article.The
females are usually heavier looking than the males and it is said
that the males have slightly longer fins and barbels.
|Females are heavier in
the body than the males. Males
have slightly longer fins and barbels
They are not fussy feeders and can be fed
a healthy diet of worm foods such as frozen bloodworm and tubifex
and also tablet food at lights out, as this is the time of day that
they become active.
Different name for the same fish.
Occipital: A median bone on the upper surface
of the back of the head; pertaining to the occiput.
Cleithral : A flattened pointed posterior extension
of the pectoral girdle (most prominent in the genus Synodontis)
Scapular: The shoulder region.
Humeral process: Bony extension of the pectoral
Steven; The Identity of Moth
Cats of the genera Hara Blyth, 1860 and Erethistes
Müller & Troschel, 1849 (Pisces: Siluriformes:
Erethistidae) Cat Chat, the
Journal of the Catfish
My Observations on breeding the Moth Cat, Hara jerdoni.
Cat Chat, the Journal of the Catfish
Jayaram, K.C.; The Freshwater Fishes of India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and SriLanka. A Handbook.
Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta. p.245-246
Burgess, Warren E. Dr., An Atlas
of Freshwater and Marine Catfishes. 1989.
Taylor, Adrian; www.asiancatfish.com
Hara buchanani, Hara filamentosa, Erethistes hara, Hara saharsai,
Laguvia asperus, Pimelodus asperus, Pimelodus hara
India, Nepal and Myanmar. Reported from Bangladesh
| 6.0 - 7.5
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