here are differing views on the true identity
of this species from the Bagridae family as it may in the future
turn out to be a junior synonym of Mystus
Since its description in 1822 from “Ponds
of India”, by Hamilton-Buchanan, M. tengara has been
discussed as being very similar to or perhaps a junior synonym of
M. vittatus. The original drawing of Mystus tengara
shows the structure of the fontanel and supraoccipital process being
to M.vittatus. (Grant 2006).
If the drawings of both species are correct (Jayaram 2006) M.tengara
has a longer lower adipose fin. M.tengara has the five
longitudinal body stripes also paler than M.vittatus. Often
mistaken for the smaller M.carcio
but vittatus has a longer median groove and the stripes
are more prominent. It has also a low head and body and M. tengara
occurs mostly in the northern parts of India.
There is still a lot of work to be carried out on this genera although
Ng and Ferraris (2000) segregated Hemibagrus to accommodate
five species of Mystus and described two others. You can
understand this move as Hemibagrus are superficially different
in body shape, and from the layman's view, they are flat headed,
large and extremely aggressive.
Mystus vittatus: notice
the smaller adipose fin.
There is even conflicting information on
the length of the maxillary barbels on M.vittatus as
Jayaram (2006) states "maxillary pair reaching base of pelvic
fin" and Munro (1955) "maxillaries reaching middle of
anal" (Macrones vittatus). So as you can see there
is a fair bit of work still to do, especially concerning the striped
Mystus tengara It is found in
flowing and standing waters. Adults inhabit rivers and ponds in
plains and submountain regions.
Apart from the confusion on this Bagrid...how
do we keep it in the aquarium?. Not
a problem as long as you keep four or more as they will do better
in a group. This is quite a small Bagrid but never the less it
is better to keep species with them that are around about the
same size, for after all they are from the Bagridae family and
most (but not all) can be predatory. Furnish the aquarium with
driftwood for hiding places and plants. Substrate is a personal
Median longitudinal groove on
head reaching base of occipital process. Occipital process three
times as long as broad at base and reaching basal bone of dorsal
fin. Teeth villiform, numerous in a continuous band on palate and
upper jaw; in a mesially interrupted deeply curved band on lower
jaw. Four pairs of barbels; maxillary pair extending to base of
anal fin, nasal anterior end of opercle, outer mandibular base of
pectoral fin and inner pair short. Rayed dorsal fin inserted above
half of pectoral fin, spine strong, outer surface smooth, inner
surface with 8-10 retrorse teeth. Pelvic fin not reaching anal fin.
Anal fin not reaching caudal fin base. Least depth of caudal peduncle
1.5 to 1.8 in its length. Caudal fin forked, upper lobe longer than
Light brown on top turning dull yellow
on sides and beneath. About five parallel longitudinal stripes
on either side of body present. Occasionally a dark shoulder spot
may also be seen.
Will do well in your medium to large aquarium
with larger Tetra type fish and Barbs. Keep
at least 4 in a group as they are happier interacting with each
Oviparous, distinct pairing possibly like
other members of the same family. This
genus is known to be egg scatterers and
may eat the eggs if they are not separated. Cold water changes may
start a pair off if they are kept in a species tank on their own.
There have been a couple of instances of successfull
breeding attempts with Mystus species, notably M. armatus
Males have an elongate
genital papilla in front of the anal fin. Females will be
Flake food which will give them all the
vitamins they desire. They should of course be fed a varied diet
consisting of the former, tablet, pellet foods and frozen foods
such as bloodworm.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly.
Editors. 2009. FishBase.World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org,
meaning whiskered (hair on the upper lip) Mystus was
first used by Belon in 1553 to describe all fish with whiskers.
tengara: From the native 'ting ga
A median bone on the upper surface of the back of the head;
pertaining to the occiput.
Villiform: Elongated cardiform teeth.
Maxillary: Pertaining to the upper jaw.
Nasal: On top of the head, by the nostrils.
Mandibular: Pertaining to the lower jaw.
Retrorse teeth: Pointing or curved backwards
or inwards; opposite of atrose.
Jayaram, K.C. Catfishes of
India, Narendera Publishing House (India) 383 p
striped catfishes of the genus Mystus Scopoli, 1777 (Siluriformes:
Munro I.S.R. The Marine and Fresh Water Fishes
of Ceylon. Reprint 2000. Biotech Books Delhi. 349 p.