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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024



Floral Snakehead Gudgeon

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3











Order : Perciformes
Species : Giuris margaritacea
Maximum Length : 29 cm

Note: paragraphs 1, 2 and 5 on this web page are condensed from Lim & Baker (2016)

Giuris margaritacea
inhabits coastal freshwaters, such as small streams, and brackish habitats too; its larval stages apparently live in the sea. It is widespread throughout the tropical Indo-west Pacific (Kottelat et al., 1993: 135 as Ophieleotris aporos; Allen et al., 2002: 289).

In Peninsular Malaysia, this gobioid fish is apparently known only from hilly offshore islands such as Pulau Tioman and Pulau Langkawi (Amirrudin & Lim, 2006: 117).

For an eleotrid gudgeon its body is relatively large and robust; its head is flattened dorsally. It is brown to greenish-brown in colour, with orange or yellowish flanks with dark markings, and there are narrow, dark stripes behind and below each eye.

Fishbase describes its diet as 'mainly aquatic insects and nymphs, but also lesser amount of algae, other aquatic plants and small crustaceans'.

It is also known simply as 全nakehead Gudgeon (Allen et al., 2002: 289); the common name of 'Floral Snakehead Gudgeon' is used here to avoid confusion with a similar gobioid fish, Ophiocara porocephala (see Larson & Lim, 2005: 53).

Figs 1 and 2 : Two large examples, of 20-25 cm total length, from Datai Bay, Pulau Langkawi, Peninsular Malaysia; both were found in a shallow, coastal freshwater stream with a varied substrate of rocks and sand, near where the stream emptied into a small area of mangrove.

Fig 3 : Datai Bay, Pulau Langkawi, Peninsular Malaysia 

References :

Allen, G. R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. (2002). Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum & CSIRO Publishing, Australia. xiv + 394 pp.

Amirrudin A. & Lim, K.K.P. (2006). Inland fishes recorded from the Langkawi Islands, Peninsular Malaysia. The Malayan Nature Journal. 59 (1): 103-120.

Kottelat, M., Whitten, A.J., Kartikasari, S.N. & Wirjoatmodjo, S. (1993). Freshwater Fishes of Western Indonesia and Sulawesi. Periplus Editions Limited. xxxviii + 221 pp. 84 pls.

Larson, H. K. & Lim, K.K.P. (2005). A Guide to Gobies of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 164 pp.

Lim, K. K. P. & Baker, N.  (2016). Floral Snakehead Gudgeon Giuris margaritacea on Pulau Langkawi, Peninsular Malaysia. Southeast Asia Vertebrate Records, 2016: 14-15.