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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Zebra Spiny Eel
   
   

Fig 1
 


  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order : Synbranchiformes
Family : MASTACEMBELIDAE
Species : Macrognathus zebrinus
Maximum Length : 46 cm

The Zebra Spiny Eel is a native of the Irrawaddy, Salween and Sittang river drainages in Burma (Myanmar). It is recognised as an established alien species in Singapore, where it appears to be successfully breeding in some reservoirs, particularly the Kranji and Lower Seletar reservoirs (Ng, 2010).

The species is mainly a bottom-dweller, typically remaining hidden amongst aquatic plants by day. The example photographed here was found at night some distance from aquatic plants.

This fish reaches up to 46 cm total length, and may be identified in the field by its unusual body shape, and by the regularly spaced, oblique, dark bars with pale outlines which are present on the body: these extend onto the tail where they are less continuous and may be broken into vertically-oriented rows of spots.


Fig 1 : Example from Lower Seletar Reservoir, Singapore, photographed at night.


References :

Ng, H. H.  (2010). The Zebra Spiny Eel  (Macrognathus zebrinus) - non-native species in Singapore (Synbranchiformes: Mastacembelidae). Cosmos, 6(01): 91-93.