e all love bagrids don't
we?. Here is another which sports a very impressive
looking extended dorsal fin and your usual slate grey
body colour, Mystus bocourti which can still
be found in publications under its old name of Heterobagrus
bocourti which is now a
bocourti -in the aquarium
This species is
distinguished from all other Mystus (indeed,
from all other Asian Bagridae except Bagrichthys
hypselopterus) by its
extraordinary high dorsal fin, involving great elongation
of the non-serrate dorsal fin spine and first three
or four soft rays. Occurs in medium to large-sized
rivers. M. bocourti is found in the Chao
Phraya and Mekong basins, in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand
and Viet Nam.
bocourti -in the field
has been assessed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened
Species as vulnerable because of an inferred population
decrease of more than 30% in the past ten years (2009).
This is as a result of high levels of pollution and
hydrological alterations, including dams, in both
the Chao Phraya and Mekong river basins.
There are a number
of large dams and other water diversion projects which
are an additional threat to M. bocourti in
both the Chao Phraya and Mekong basins; effects of
developments such as these to the freshwater ecosystem
include alterations to the hydrological cycle, and
changes to the levels of sedimentation and dissolved
o². Dams also act as a physical barrier, which
is especially pertinent to M. bocourti, a
potamodromous species. More dams are currently under
construction and planned for the future.
bocourti, Prajadhipokia rex
and Chao Phraya River basins. Type locality:
Dorsal spines (total): 2; Dorsal
soft rays (total): 7; Anal soft rays: 10; Vertebrae:
43. Within Mystus
sensu stricto, mouth relatively narrow. Caudal peduncle
very slender with long and pointed lobes to caudal
Dark brown dorsally, shading
to grey/brown laterally and light ventrally. Sides
and fin spines tinged with an iridescent green sheen.
Faint mid-lateral stripe.
Care & Compatibility
Can only be kept with the same
or larger species as this bagrid, common with many
from this family, can eat smaller fish. Keep either
3-5 specimens in a large tank with plants to the background.
Substrate should be sand and provide hiding places
with good filtration. Not
a community type catfish but can be kept with fish
that are too large to be swallowed, i.e. over 10cm
Not reported, but
they are oviparous, distinct pairing possibly like other
members of the same family.
Males have an elongate genital
papilla in front of the anal fin. Females will be fuller
In its native waters the adults
feed on crustaceans and benthic invertebrates.
In the aquarium feed tablet
and pellet foods, earthworms, and live and frozen
foods. Not a fussy eater.
The median, unpaired, ventrally located fin that lies
behind the anus, usually on the posterior half of the
Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on top
of the body.
Potamodromous: Freshwater fish migrations are
usually shorter, typically from lake to stream or vice
versa, for spawning purposes. Sensu stricto: In a narrow or strict
name for the same fish.
meaning whiskered or moustache (hair on the upper
lip). Mystus was first used by Belon in 1553 to describe
all fish with whiskers. bocourti: In honour of Bocourt.
H.A. and R. Riehl 1985 Aquarien atlas. Band
2. Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde
GmbH, Melle, Germany. 1216 p. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009.
FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org,
version (12/2009). Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist
of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes),
and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Jenkins, A., Kullander, F.F. & Tan, H.H.
2009. Mystus bocourti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened
Species 2009. Roberts, T.R., 1994. Systematic revision
of Asian bagrid catfishes of the genus Mystus sensu
stricto, with a new species from Thailand and Cambodia.
Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwat. 5(3):241-256. Vidthayanon, Chavalit (2008) Field
guide to Fishes of the Mekong Delta. Mekong River Commission,