aquatic research

Hemiptera &

Systematics of Southeast and East Asian Bagridae and related catfishes

Major projects | Further readings

The catfish fauna is relatively poorly studied, and the potential for discovering unusual new genera and species is very high. The main family under study is the Bagridae, the emphasis being on the commercially important riverine catfish (Baung) of the genus Hemibagrus.

photo: Common baung, Hemibagrus nemurus



The common baung, Hemibagrus nemurus, is an important food fish.

photo: Blue-eyed catfish, Hemibagrus wyckii



Hemibagrus wyckii, the blue-eyed catfish
or Baung Jaksa of Southeast Asia.

The systematics of the genus Hemibagrus (and related Mystus) from Asia is analysed with using classical taxonomical techniques. Examination of museum specimens is ongoing and fresh collections are being assembled to sort out their taxonomy. The results has relevance for their conservation as well as aid in the understanding of the phylogeny and biogeography of these bagrid catfish. Being conducted at the same time is a major project (with Julian Dodson, Canada) on the molecular systematics of large food fishes of Southeast Asia, especially Hemibagrus. Large food fish are collected from fish markets and fishermen for molecular analysis, using a mitochondrial DNA assay. Morphological data is correlated with the molecular analysis to generate a multi-disciplinary interpretation of the phylogeny of these food fish. In addition to Hemibagrus, other silurid taxa used in the present study include Mystus, Leiocassis (Bagridae), Kryptopterus (Siluridae), as well as Pangasius and Helicophagus (Pangasiidae).

The alpha-taxonomy of the clown catfishes of the genus Leiocassis (Bagridae) is also being revised currently. Studies of museum and fresh collections are providing a clearer understanding of this complicated and often misunderstood group. Many are important in the aquarium trade. Members of two related taxa, Pseudomystus and Nanobagrus, are also examined.

Concurrent with these studies are ongoing revisions of the genera Breitensteinia (Akysidae), Acrochordonichthys (Akysidae), Akysis (Akysidae), Glyptothorax (Sisoridae), Laides (Schilbeidae) and Ceratoglanis (Siluridae), Clarias nieuhoffi specis group (Clariidae), and the Southeast Asian members of the genus "Pelteobagrus" (Bagridae). Recently completed studies include revisions of the Parakysis (Akysidae) and Encheloclarias (Clariidae).

photo: Nanobagrus armatus
Nanobagrus armatus, a dimnutive and
rare bagrid from Borneo.

photo: Akysis hendricksoni
Akysis hendricksoni, a torrent catfish
from Malaysia.

photo: Encheloclarias kelioides
The very rare bladefin catfish, Encheloclarias kelioides from southern Malaysia.

photo: Glyptothorax major
The wrinkled-bellied torrent catfish, Glyptothorax major, a common denizen
of rapids.

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