Gastromyzon sp. “Bloody Mary”

20. June 2024

The hillstream loaches of the genus Gastromyzon have developed an enormous diversity of species on the island of Borneo. The ichthyologist Tan first analyzed this diversity in 2006 and described no less than 15 new species in his book “The Borneo Suckers”. Since then, a total of 36 species of the genus have been known from Borneo, but more have already become known aquaristically. We have now been able to import three species that have apparently not yet been scientifically recorded, and we would like to introduce you to the most spectacular of these first: Bloody Mary.

However, our Gastromyzon does not kill anyone like Queen Mary I, who was given the gruesome nickname because of her persecution of Protestants in the mid-16th century. Its nickname refers to the blood-red markings at the base of the dorsal fin and on the upper side of the caudal peduncle. If you follow Tan’s group classifications according to anatomical features, you will find that a postoral pouch is missing, as is a secondary rostrum (a rostrum is a snout process), and the gill opening is angular. This leads to the Gastromyzon fasciatus group, which consists of two described species: G. fasciatus and G. praestans. Bloody Mary is not identical to either species.

Our supplier gave us the area of Pankalan Bun, in the very south of Borneo, as the origin of the three species. However, only Bloody Mary and the species G. sp. “Blue” (to be presented later) occur together, while G. sp. “Red” (we will also present this species shortly) is found in another body of water in the area. Both sexes of G. sp. “Bloody Mary” show the same coloration, and both sexes also have the horny snout pimples. The females are only slightly smaller and slimmer. As the fish (there were 2.2 in the photo tank) were busy mating here and probably also spawning, we can say that the males become very dark, almost black, during courtship. During courtship, the male rides up to the female and sometimes almost completely covers her body.

The new spectacular sucker is by no means sensitive; although the animals were severely infected with Picinoodinum, they survived this dreaded infection without any losses. So we can only hope that Gastromyzon sp. “Bloody Mary” will become a permanent addition in the aquarium trade.

For our customers: the animals have code 416597 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer