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
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
vespa is one of the smallest members of the Akysidae
family and 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
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
(southern): Ataran River Drainage.
River drainage in Southern Myanmar (Burma).
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.
Care & Compatibility
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.
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 in colour.
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.
Nasal barbels:On top of the head, by the nostrils. (nasal
to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels)
to the lower jaw. (mandibular barbels)
Pectoral fin:The paired
fins just behind the head.
Lateral line:A sensory
line, along the sides of the body.
Akysis:A = without; kysis = bladder,
in reference to the lack of a swimbladder. vespa:Latin word for Wasp, due to the colour