field guide to the freshwater fishes of singapore

Index of fishes
General parts of a fish
Kelvin K P Lim and Peter K L Ng
  Family Luciocephalidae
Primarily freshwater fish; oviparous (mouth-breeder); predatory; solitary. These are elongated, cigar-shaped fish with a long and pointed snout. Like other anabantoids, they too possess a labyrinth organ on the side of the head above the gills, but lack swim bladders. They also have a highly protractile mouth used for catching fish.

Genus Luciocephalus
photo of whole fish, side view
Photo: Ho Hua Chew

photo of whole fish, side view Young Pikehead
Luciocephalus pulcher
Ikan Tembok Tembing, name in chinese characters

18 cm; pelagic. Indigenous, endangered. Forest streams.

This strange looking fish is sometimes seen on sale in aquaria, where it is known to
fetch a fairly high price. Its cryptically brown coloration and shape resembles a fallen fruit or a short stick. With this disguise, it is able to approach and ambush its prey. It is a voracious predator, feeding on small fish, shrimps and insects.

When the unsuspecting quarry comes within reach of the pikehead, its mouth would suddenly seem to fall apart, throwing forth a translucent funnel which engulfs the prey in a flash.
diagram of head
The very mobile mouth of the Pikehead
showing it swallowing a fish

As the prey is swallowed, the extended jaw is folded back into place. The fish is restricted locally to a few forest streams.
Freshwater habitats
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