Fish of the Day: Bagarius yarrelli (Sykes, 1841)
This whiskered fish, referred to in many places as goonch, can be found from the Ganges and Indus Rivers of India, throughout Southeast Asia, and south into Indonesia. In the Ngao River, a tributary of the Salween River, local children call B. yarrelli "lizard fish." One look at the textured skin and eyes of this fish and you can understand why. Several reports from the mid-19th century recorded B. yarrelli attaining lengths up to 2 meters long (6.5 feet). Today, however, observed specimens are typically significantly smaller (~35 cm) due to intense fishing pressure through much of their range. This fish is one of the few fish in my study system that have true teeth, which they effectively use to feed on prawns, fish, and some aquatic insects. These fish prefer fast flowing currents and tend to hang out among large submerged rocks and boulders. For more information and photos, check out B. yarrelli at FishBase.org.