Kelvin K P Lim and Peter K L Ng
Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia. Despite their close resemblance, synbranchids are not true eels, but a rather primitive group of serpentine fishes with greatly reduced fins, bearing signs of dorsal and anal fins, but lacking pectoral and pelvic fins. They are air-breathers.
This nocturnal fish hides in burrows, under objects or amongst dense vegetation in the day. It has even been found in the crevices of monsoon drains. It is highly adaptable, and not fussy about water quality, able to tolerate polluted and even brackish water conditions. It breathes air, and gaseous exchange takes place in a special part of the hind gut. The gill-opening is simply a slit across the throat.
It is sometimes fished for its tasty flesh, and is much esteemed by the Chinese, who also believe in its supposed medicinal value. This curious fish, which has a vaguely dog-like head is said to build a free-floating bubble-nest. The nest and brood are tended by the male. Because it has the ability to bury itself in mud and survive in a torpid state during the droughts, it has sometimes been dubbed the "lungfish of the Orient".
Fishes in Singapore
Amazing Fishy Facts
About the guidebook
From A Guide to Common Freshwater Fishes of Singapore by Kelvin K P Lim and Peter K L Ng
Published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by BP
@Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre