UK aquarist Pete Cottle is not known for his catfish articles; his knowledge and vast experience is more commonly focussed on Danios and Devarios. Pete runs the danios.info website and has recently published a very nice book on same. Therefore, we're very pleased indeed that he has taken the time to write, for him, on this doubly unusual subject. An unusual subject for Pete and an unusual catfish to be sure.
In January and February of 2006, I was able to visit northern India - primarily to collect members of the Danionin family. It was an extremely successful trip in that we were fortunate enough to collect two new species (one Danionin and one Badidae). One of the first places we fished was a small tributary of the Sankosh river known as the Jorai river. This first sweep of the seine net yielded what I considered to be the prize of the trip - a wild Zebra Danio. You may laugh but the colours of this wild fish were so intense and so unlike the usual farm bred fish. Also in the net was a new species of Danionella the first to be found in India. Samples of this species were subsequently caught and sent to Dr Ralf Britz who named it Danionella priapus in 2010. It was also at this place where Dario dario was first found (originally known as Badis bengalensis). We also caught Erethistes hara and Erethistes pussilus.
Fast forward several days and after an overnight stay at Kalimpong (60K from Siliguri and 50K from Darjeeling) we arrived at the tiny isolated village of Pemling. It was here that a local man supplemented his meagre earnings by fishing. I might add that this small village is 20K plus off of the main road and is along an unmade spine crunching road. The purpose of the visit was to catch the rare hill stream catfish Myersglanis blythii. As it turned out, we did not have time to walk down to the River Gees as it was about 3K each way as we still had a lot of travelling to do. Not one of the easiest fishes to catch as it lives in cool water at 16 to 18°C that is highly aerated (coming off the Himalayas) and the river bed is strewn with boulders of varying size. The only way the fish can be caught is to lift a rock from the water and see if a catfish is clinging to it. On a good day, the guys will catch just two or three. Many days they do not catch a single fish. The fish are then taken up to the village and acclimatised in a small pond for about two weeks. They are an amazing little fish in that they have the ability to ‘walk’ over any wet surface. I popped one into a small photo tank and almost immediately had to retrieve it from the table as it literally walked up the glass and away. Apart from the difficulty in catching the fish and the acclimatisation / travelling that is involved, it can only be caught during the winter. The fish must be kept cool because during the transportation the temperature rises and is usually fatal. They are then taken up to the main road and travel by bus to Siliguri and thence to Kolkata; the journey probably taking nigh on a complete day. These fish command a very high price in Japan - often upwards of US$100 per specimen. Also in the river were a couple of loaches, namely Aborichthys elongatus and Schistura savona.
Some days later we were in the area of Shillong and travelled along the road to Jowai fishing the small streams along the way. Many were highly polluted from the coal workings in the area but one small stream yielded a new species of Dario. This too was subsequently collected and is also with Dr Britz. Live examples of this new species were also distributed to interested aquarists and this new species is now available in Europe.
We saw some other catfishes during our travels including street vendors selling Wallago atu at around three feet. What an awesome set of teeth these guys have!
Copyright information for the images used in this article can be found on the species' full Cat-eLog page.
|Cat-eLog Data Sheet|
|Scientific Name||Myersglanis blythii (Day, 1870)|
|Type Locality||Pharping, Nepal|
|Pronunciation||my errs glah niss - bl eye th eye|
|Size||73mm or 2.9" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.|
|Identification||Myersglanis are small sized and greatly flattened sisorid fishes in which the dorsal profile rises steadily up to the base of the dorsal fin thereafter nearly straight.Head and anterior part greatly depressed and the tail compressed from side to side. Rayed dorsal fin inserted above half of pectoral fin,nearer to tip of snout than to the caudal base.No spine.Adipose fin long,low and confluent with the caudal.|
Myersglanis blythii can be identified by a pectoral fin with 10 branched rays and the caudal fin with 15-16 branched rays. The anal fin origin is equidistant from the pelvic fin origin and the caudal fin base. The adipose fin is confluent with the caudal fin.
|General Remarks||This species has been exported a few times.|
|Distribution||India & Nepal.
Indian waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Nepal Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Indian waters, Bengal Waters, West Bengal Waters (click on these areas to find other species found there) (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
|IUCN Red List Status||Data Deficient|
|Other Parameters||The fish pictured was collected from water with a temperature of 12.2°C and a pH of 8.2.|
|Furniture||Fine sand for the bottom and smooth pebbles / rocks.|
|Suggested Tankmates||Cyprinids like Barilius and Danios and Balitorine loaches like Homaloptera species. Other species collected with Myersglanis blythii include Schizothorax richardsoni, Schistura inglisi, Aborithys elongatus,Neolissochilus hexagonolepis,Tor tor and Pseudecheneis sulcatus.|
|References||The Freshwater Fishes Of The Indian Region (2nd Edition),K.C.Jayaram|
|More on Myersglanis blythii|
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|Last Update||2011 Jan 27 07:35 (species record created: 2011 Jan 01 11:22)|
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