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 synonym.
This species is distinguished from all
other Mystus (indeed, from all other Asian Bagridae except
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.
M. bocourti 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.
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 fin.
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.
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
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
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.
Freshwater fish migrations are usually shorter, typically
from lake to stream or vice versa, for spawning purposes.
Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on
top of the body.
Anal fin: The median, unpaired, ventrally
located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior
half of the fish.
Sensu stricto: In a narrow or strict sense.
Synonym: Different name for the same fish.
"Mystax" meaning whiskered (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.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009.FishBase.
World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version
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: e.T169548A6645864. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009-2.RLTS.T169548A6645864.en.
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.
Vidthayanon, Chavalit (2008) Field guide to Fishes
of the Mekong Delta. Mekong River Commission, 288 pp.
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