Sanggau, Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo

There was some slow moving mudd bottomed streams draining into the Kapuas mainstream upriver from Sanggau. This one had bottom of mud and sand and thick layers of leaf litter in many places. Scooping the leaf litter with small push net yielded some specimens with practically every try. The Pangios seem to enjoy places with low current. In the river under the Sekayam title i could catch only one specimen of P. semicincta, although river was packed with leaf litter and other interesting fishes. Here even some gas bubbles were coming from the leaf litter filled bottom but this stream didn't have dirty water. Only 200 meters upstream from here the terrain got rockier and nice little water falls with clear water had Cyprinids and Betta dimidiata living there.  

First we encountered this 40+ cm Wallago leerii.
Wallago leerii is biggest fish in the Kapuas river reaching more than 1,5m in length. Couple of young (6-7cm) individuals got into my net while catching fish here.
 


A little muddy water, but crystal clear 100m up the stream.


Scoop a lot of leaf litter and find out what you caught...


Pangio species i caught here were: P. anguillaris, P. malayana, P. semicincta and P. shelfordii. Pangio semicincta and P. malayana have often been identified as P. kuhlii, species that is restricted to Java. Most of these fishes in the aquarium trade are P. semicincta which comes from Malay peninsula, Borneo and Sumatra. Pangio malayana has similar distribution and also similar coloration. Below some clues to identify these species.

 Pangio semicincta   Below three specimens of P. semicincta which have been living in my aquarium for a year. P. semicincta has 6-10 bars on it's body (excluding three on the head and the one on caudal). It is very easy to get confused with the amount of bars because many of them split into two with age. When caught from their natural habitat they looked more or less like the one in the first picture. 
 

For some reason specimens obtained from the wild never  develop color patterns like the female on the picture right. The breaking of the pattern makes identification much harder and confuses such things as the amount of bars the specimen is having. I'd say the one below is having 7 or 8 bars on the body.

Head of Pangio semicincta. Larger specimens have the black bars on the head (especially 2nd one) meeting each other on the ventral side. This never happens with P. malayana. P. semicincta also have black lips also distinguishing it from P. malayana. 

Pangio malayana  
Underside of the head is different from semicincta in lacking the black lips and the bars really don't come to the ventral side. In larger specimens this is the most usefull character, because the banding can get quite peculiar in both species with age. 

P. malayana is also smaller species, from the specimens i have i'd say 10- 15% shorter in average compared to P. semicincta.

 

Other typical features of Pangio malayana: there is black bar at the caudal base but the color is not getting to the fin itself in specimens collected from the wild. These have been in the aquarium for a year and the color is going a little to the fin but there is a clear difference between malayana and semicincta.
This fish on the right shows interesting detail: the 3rd bar is starting to have a paler new branch going upwards and forming a circle on the back. I always thought that these circles are formed by one bar expanding and leaving pale center or by two bars joining. The circles seem to come "from nothing".

This specimen of P. malayana have been photographed right after it was caught on location. It has 10 bars on the body (should be 11-16according to definition of the species). However P. malayana has just recently been "found" from Borneo, this is probably due to earlier misidentifications. They actually outnumbered P. semicincta in the habitat.

This specimen has also the bars stopping before lateral mid-line which is typical for the species.

 next page >

home