We import the beautiful fire eel, Mastacembelus erythrotaenia, on a regular basis from Indonesia, usually large specimens, 30-60 cm long. These fish are about as thick as a forearm. Most recently we obtained again four specimens, 50-60 cm long. However, two of them looked totally different. They lack completely the red stripes and spots which are so characteristic for M. erythrotaenia.
We asked Ralf Britz, researcher at the Natural History Museum, London, and one of the leading specialists for that group of fish, for his opinion. He answered that most probably our new imports are Mastacembelus unicolor or – at least – what currently is thought to be M. unicolor. Our sincere thanks once more to London!
The species Mastacembelus unicolor has been described scientifically back in 1831 by Cuvier. This description based on unpublished data and specimens collected by the naturalists Kuhl and van Hasselt, who died at an early age in 1821 and 1823 in Java. They left an important collection of fishes and accurate drawings of fish. Such a drawing also exists of Mastacembelus unicolor. One can clearly recognize the unusual stripe over the pectoral fin and the white seam running along the whole of the dorsal, caudal, and ventral fins. So our new imports – obviously a pair – look at least very, very similar to M. unicolor.
Our pair currently has a light murky skin, but we are sure this will vanish after the fish have settled. Hopefully we are able to import more of these beautiful animals!
For our customers: the fish have code 426726 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photios: Frank Schäfer
Once more we were able to import an extemely rarely offered species of spiny eel, namely Mastacembelus pantherinus. In the internet this species is in general named M. dayi, but M. dayi has recently proofed to by a synonym of M. alboguttatus. Researcher Ralf Britz – he described, by the way, also M. pantherinus – has solved this confusing puzzle only some weeks ago.
Mastacembelus pantherinus originates from Burma. t has been collected so far only in lake Indawgyi and its affluents. The species attains a maximum length of at least 50 cm and is a large member of the genus. Our specimens currently are 20-25 cm long.
For our customers: the animals have code 426455 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Available in very limited numbers only!
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer
We could import this new discovery – a spiny eel – for the first time now from Burma. Initially I thought it would be a member of the M.-armatus-group, but the specialist for spiny eels, Ralf Britz from Natural History Museum in London led me to the idea to take a closer look on the caudal fin. Indeed this fin is fairly separated from the dorsal and the anal fin in Mastacembelus sp. „Nargis“ , while it is merged with these fins in the M.-armatus-group. Ralf thinks that M. sp. Nargis is closest to M. caudiocellatus, but of course he also says that more and detailed observations have to be done to proof this. In the meantime it is best to name the fish Mastacembelus sp. „Nargis“.
It is much likely that Mastacembelus sp. „Nargis“ belongs to the medium sized members of the genus and will attain a maximum length of about 25 cm or so. Our (short) experience with the fish shows that it is as peaceful, gregarious and secretly as one expects from a member of this relationship.
For our customers: the fish have code 426215 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Available in limited numbers only!
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer