s you can see in the image below,
this months factsheet (May 2011) is based on the Bagridae
family from Asia and a very nicely coloured member
by the common name of the "Tawny Dragon catfish"
so named for its specific (latin) name of fulva;
meaning tawny, and draco; meaning dragon.
fulvidraco has had
a chequered history. In the 1980s you could purchase
this species under one of its previous names, Pelteobagrus
fulvidraco and it was reasonably common in the
trade in the U.K. Today
it is quite rare in imports which is a pity as this
is a very interesting "cool water catfish"
There is still
ongoing discussions in the scientific fraternity on
the validity of the genus name of Tachysurus
as the original description of this genera was by
La Cepède in 1803 and it depicted a member
of the Ariid catfish family. He proposed the name
Tachysurus sinensis for
a catfish depicted in a Chinese illustration archived
in Paris at the Muséum National d’Histoire
Naturelle (MNHN). Tachysurus sinensis La
Cepède, 1803 is the type species of Tachysurus
La Cepède, 1803 (pp. 150, 151) by monotypy.
The locality for the illustration is given as China.
The only problem with this was the painting looked
very much like a Bagrid and not an Ariid species and
quite probably Pseudobagrus fulvidraco (Richardson,
1846) or P. nitidus Sauvage & Dabry de
Thiersant, 1874. Of course this story is not as simple
as that and if you want to read more on the pros and
cons of this argument you can seek out and read the
references listed below by López;
J. Andrés 2008 and Ng,
H.H. & Kottelat, M, 2007. To add to this
confussion, Fishbase has this species listed as Pelteobagrus
fulvicrado and Catalog of Fishes has it down
as Tachysurus fulvicrado.
from the scientific slant to this species, how do
we keep the "Tawny Dragon catfish?. Not too much
of a problem catfish as long as you don't house them
with smaller species as being a Bagrid they will do
what the vast majority of Bagrids will do "chase
and eat them". I mentioned 'them' earlier in
the text as you can keep them in a group and they
will get on fine together as long as you give them
plenty of room and hiding places for each individual,
but you would need a very large tank with a minimum
length of 6ft. If you are set on a large big fish
community type setup you would probably be better
off with one individual.
The image above
depicts a golden variety of the Tawny Dragon catfish.
This is a primarily
a cool water catfish so placing the tank in a centrally
heated house would suffice but there are also reports
that this catfish is also happy at temperatures of
between 23-26°C (72-79°F) so a very variable
temperature range does not worry this Bagrid at all.
Providing a good current in the aquarium will suit
this catfish. The growth of these fish are quick and
a report states that a 8cm (3¼ins) imported
specimen reached 14cm (5½ins) in a matter of
a few months.
Asia:Widely throughout China, except the western
plateau and Xinjiang (Chu et al., 1999); Nam Ma Basin,
Laos, and northern and central Vietnam and the Amur
river basin in the far east of Russia. Type
locality: Canton, China.
Dorsal spines (total): 2; Dorsal
soft rays (total): 7; Anal soft rays: 19 - 20. Body
is naked, skin fairly thin particularly on the upper
side of the head. The mouth is large with upper jaw
extending slightly beyond lower. Four pairs of barbels,
two mandibular, one maxillary and one nasal. Dorsal
spine very stout only slightly serrated along posterior
edge. Pectoral spines very stout with fine serrations
along the anterior and coarser serae along the posterior
edge. The caudal fin is forked with rounded lobes.
Yellowish brown with irregular
darker brown bands running into both caudal lobes.
Colour contrast is more intense on juvenile specimens
than in adults.
Care & Compatibility
Needs a large tank as they
grow fast and they will squabble with conspecifics
if kept in too small a tank. Create hiding places
with rocks and bogwood with the tank densely planted
and with floating plants as part of the setup. If
keeping other fish with the "Tawny Dragon"
you will need fish larger than this catfish that will
accept cooler temperatures, although a mid 70s tank
will suit them fine. Although they are a cooler water
catfish don't keep them with Goldfish as they will
be constantly harassed as they are slow swimmers and
will be picked on during the night.
In the wild these
fish form small breeding colonies by making burrows
or depressions on the bottom near the shore. The eggs
are guarded by the male.
As with most other
species of catfish the males tend to be more slender
than the females. It would appear also that the male
can be determined by the papillae just prior to the
anal fin, a feature found in other Bagridae.
Will accept most prepared foods
such as flake, tablets, live and frozen tubifex and
Anal fin:is defined as the medial fin immediately posterior
to the anus. Caudal fin: is defined as the tail
fin. Dorsal fin: is defined as the medial
fin on top of the back. Mandibular barbels: pertaining to the
lower jaw (mandibular barbels). Maxillary barbels: pertaining to the
upper jaw (maxillary barbels). Nasal barbels: on top of the head,
by the nostrils (nasal barbels). Pectoral fins: are defined as paired
fulva; meaning tawny, and draco;
Malcolm: Red in the - bed - tank. Thames
Valley Catfish Area Group. Magazine 1991.
López; J. Andrés Case 3455
Pseudobagrus Bleeker, 1858 (Osteichthyes, Siluriformes,
BAGRIDAE):proposed conservation. Bulletin of Zoological
Nomenclature 65(3) September 2008. Ng, H.H. & Kottelat, M; The identity
of Tachysurus sinensis La Cepède, 1803, with
the designation of a neotype ( Teleostei: Bagridae)
and notes on the identity of T.fulvidraco (Richardson,
1845). Electronic Journal of Ichthyology November,
2007 2: 35-45. Northern Area Catfish Group. Information