Focussing on the vertebrate
 fauna of SE Asia


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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2018





Fishes of  Southeast Asia

Awareness of the amazing diversity of Southeast Asia's tropical reef fishes is high - coral reefs are highly photogenic.  The diversity of other tropical aquatic systems, such as freshwater (forest streams, pools, lakes etc.) and brackish water (estuarine or mangrove habitat) is less appreciated : this section of Ecology Asia focuses on fishes from such habitats.  The boundary between brackish water and open-marine species is somewhat vague, however, as some mangrove species enter open seas, and conversely many open-marine fish species enter mangrove areas to spawn. 

Species such as the Harlequin Rasbora and Three Spot Gouramy are well known for their beauty, but others such as the Forest Betta (a cousin of the Siamese Fighting Fish) are less well known. The most bizarre fishes in this section are the mangrove-dwelling mudskippers, such as the Blue-spotted Mudskipper, which are able to endure long periods out of water.

All images in this section are, as always,  taken in natural habitat - no captive specimens are photographed.  Thus, the perspective of these images is that of a hiker on a forest trail peering down into a crystal clear stream, or on a boardwalk winding through mangrove. 

Note : On this page, names of freshwater fish species are in
green, those occurring mainly in brackish water are in orange, and marine species in blue. Introduced species are in yellow.

Bonytongues  (Osteoglossiformes : Osteoglossidae)    
Asian Arowana
Scleropages formosus 

Barbs, Rasboras, Danios, Shark-minnows, Carps  (Cypriniformes : Cyprinidae)    

Saddle Barb
Barbodes banksi
  Spanner Barb
Barbodes lateristriga
  Tinfoil Barb
Barbodes schwanenfeldii
  Bornean Spotted Barb
Barbodes sealei
Six-banded Tiger Barb
Desmopuntius hexazona
Hard-lipped Barb
Osteochilus vittatus
  Waandersii's Hard-lipped Barb
Osteochilus waandersii
Malayan Pygmy Rasbora
Boraras maculatus 
  Rosefin Rasbora
Rasbora dusonensis
  Einthoven's Rasbora
Rasbora einthovenii
Two-spot Rasbora
Rasbora elegans
  Harlequin Rasbora
Trigonostigma heteromorpha
  Queen Danio
Devario regina
  Apollo Shark-minnow
Luciosoma setigerum
Hampala macrolepidota
Hypsibarbus sp.
  Kelah (Malayan Mahseer)
Tor tambroides 
Loaches  (Cypriniformes : Nemacheilidae & Cobitidae)    
Grey-banded Loach
Nemacheilus selangoricus 
  Spotted Eel-loach 
Pangio muraeniformis

Catfishes  (Siluriformes : Siluridae & Clariidae)     

Hasselt's Leaf Catfish
Silurichthys hasseltii
  Common Walking Catfish
Clarias batrachus
  Forest Walking Catfish
Clarias leiacanthus
  Slender Walking Catfish
Clarias nieuhofii
Snake Eels (Anguilliformes : Ophichthidae), Swamp Eels (Synbranchiformes : Synbranchidae),
Spiny Eels (Synbranchiformes : Mastacembelidae)
Snake Eels
Pisodonophis spp.
  Asian Swamp Eel
Monopterus javanensis
  Buff-backed Spiny Eel
Macrognathus maculatus
  Zebra Spiny Eel
Macrognathus zebrinus

Toothcarps  (Cyprinodontiformes : Aplocheilidae, Poeciliidae)

Aplocheilus panchax
Poecilia reticulata
  Common Molly
Poecilia sphenops

Garfishes, Halfbeaks  (Beloniformes : Belonidae & Hemiramphidae)     

Slender Needlefish
Strongylura leiura
  Freshwater Needlefish
Xenentodon canciloides
  Pygmy Halfbeak
Dermogenys collettei
  Forest Halfbeak
Hemirhamphodon pogonognathus
Stripe-nosed Halfbeak
Zenarchopterus buffonis
Ricefishes  (Beloniformes : Adrianichthyidae)     
Javanese Ricefish
Oryzias javanicus

Leaf Fishes  (Perciformes : Nandidae)

Malayan Leaf Fish
Nandus nebulosus
Climbing Gouramies  (Perciformes : Anabantidae)
Asian Climbing Perch
Anabas testudineus
Bettas, Gouramies, Pikeheads  (Perciformes : Osphronemidae)
Forest Betta
Betta pugnax
  Giant Gouramy
Osphronemus goramy
  Three-spot Gouramy
Trichopodus trichopterus
  Croaking Gouramy
Trichopis vittata
  Malayan Pikehead
Luciocephalus pulcher
Snakeheads (Perciformes : Channidae)
Dwarf Snakehead
Channa gachua
  Forest Snakehead
Channa lucius
  Black Snakehead
Channa melasoma
  Giant Snakehead or Toman
Channa micropeltes
  Common Snakehead, Aruan
Channa striata
Commonly introduced Cichlids  (Perciformes : Cichlidae)
Peacock Bass
Cichla orinocensis / temensis
Eartheater Cichlid
Geophagus altifrons
  Common Tilapia
Oreochromis mossambicus


Gudgeons, Gobies and Mudskippers (Perciformes : Eleotridae and Gobiidae)

Snakehead Gudgeon
Ophiocara porocephala

  Marbled Gudgeon
Oxyeleotris marmorata
  Green-spotted Goby
Acentrogobius janthinopterus
Common Frill-fin Goby
Bathygobius fuscus
  Golden Flat-head Goby
Glossogobius aureus
Oriental River Goby
Rhinogobius giurinus
  Grey Knight Goby
Stigmatogobius sadanundio
Blue-spotted Mudskipper
Boleophthalmus boddarti
Gt. Blue-spotted Mudskipper
Boleophthalmus pectinirostris
Giant Mudskipper
Periophthalmodon schlosseri
Silver-lined Mudskipper
Periophthalmus argentilineatus
Gold-spotted Mudskipper
Periophthalmus chrysospilos
Dusky-gilled Mudskipper
Periophthalmus variabilis
  Yellow-spotted Mudskipper
Periophthalmus walailakae
  Elongate Mudskipper
Pseudapocryptes elongatus

Cardinalfishes  (Perciformes : Apogonidae)

Humpbacked Cardinalfish
Apogon hyalosoma
Chequered Cardinalfish
Apogon margaritophorus

Butterflyfishes  (Perciformes : Chaetodontidae)

Threadfin Butterflyfish
Chaetodon auriga
Double-saddled Butterflyfish
Chaetodon ulietensis
Kite Butterflyfish
Parachaetodon ocellatus

Other perciformes  (Terapontidae, Toxotidae, Lutjanidae, Ambassidae, Callionymidae)

Banded Archerfish
Toxotes jaculatrix
Mangrove Jack
Lutjanus argentimaculatus


  Glass Perchlets
Ambassis spp.


Mullets  (Mugiliformes : Mugilidae)   

Puffers, Filefishes  (Tetraodontiformes : Tetraodontidae & Monacanthidae) 
Narrow-lined Pufferfish Arothron manilensis      Filefishes