Some amazing fishes | More
African Lungfishes (Protopterus, Protopteridae) build themselves
a "cocoon" of mud beneath the bottoms of dried up ponds and have been
known to aestivate ("sleep") for as long as four years!
freshwater fishes naturally swim upside down. Most famous is the West
African Upside Down Catfish (Synodontis nigriventris, Synodontidae).
They are so well adapted to this lifestyle that the normal colour
pattern is reversed - the ventral surfaces being darkly coloured whereas
the dorsal areas are light coloured.
Upside Down Catfish
Photo: Francis Lim
are especially dangerous in schools, their sharp teeth easily slicing off
the flesh. Attracted by blood, they have been known to strip a human to
his skeleton in several hours. They are unpredictable animals, however,
and do not usually attack man. Because of their ferocity, they are banned
from the aquarium trade in many countries. In Singapore, specimens have
been occasionally reported to be released in drains. They are not known
to be feral. It is illegal to keep or sell them here. Just imagine our reservoirs
and waterways teeming with them!
Photo: Francis Lim
most dangerous freshwater fishes in the world are probably the various
species of South American Piranha (Serrasalmus, Characidae),
distant relatives of the famous aquarium tetras.
most "electrifying" of all fishes is the freshwater South American
Electric Eel, (Electrophorus electricus, Electrophoridae),
which can generate up to 600 volts of charge at currents of up to
1 ampere. Deaths are rare. Second in line is the African Electric
Catfish (Malapterurus electricus, Malapteruridae) which can
generate over 250 volts. This fish has been known since the time of
Photo: Tan Bee Hong
fishes or Kissing Gouramies (Helostoma temminckii, Helostomatidae)
"kiss" by oppressing their fleshy lips against each other, but it
is believed that this action is not one of affection but a threat
display between rivals!
of the prime contenders for the ugliest freshwater fish in the world must
surely be the Angler Catfish of Malaysia (Chaca bankanensis, Chacidae).
Not only does it not look like any living thing, it uses the two worm-like
barbels to lure small fishes to its huge mouth!
as it may sound, some fish can drown if forced to stay under water too long!
All have special body structures adapted to breathe air, particularly the
labyrinth fishes (Belontidae, Anabantidae, etc). These are so dependent
on atmospheric air that their gills are small and very ineffective under
water. If forced to stay underwater for too long, they literally drown!
South East Asia has one of the highest concentration of such air-breathing
fishes in the world.
Fishes in Singapore
Amazing Fishy Facts
About the guidebook