Asian Bonytongue   FISH
Asian Bonytongue
Asian Bonytongue
More images:
Scientific Name:
Scleropages formosus
Other Names and/or Listed subspecies:
Dragon Fish, Asian Arowana, Osteoglossum formosum, Kelesa, Golden Arowana, Golden Dragon Fish, Kelesa
Status/Date Listed as Endangered:
EN-US FWS: June 14, 1976
EN-IUCN: 2011
Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:
Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

Also called the Asian arowana, the Asian bonytongue is a freshwater fish found in the rivers of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar. It is also called the dragon fish and is considered a lucky fish by natives because of its resemblance to the Chinese mythical dragon. Bonytongues get their name from the toothed bone (tongue) on the floor of the mouth that is equipped with teeth that bite against the upper teeth at the roof of the mouth. Adults have a stocky build and long bodies, growing up to 35 inches in length, and large, elongate pectoral, dorsal, and anal fins. It comes in many different colors, green being the most common. Others are silver, red, golden, and even blue in color. The mouth is wide and faces downward, opening like a drawbridge, and it is filled with many small teeth. The lower jaw has two barbells at the tip. The scales are large, and in some varieties they are metallic in color.

This species can only thrive in fresh water and is found in still streams and creeks. They are also bred on fishing farms and are popular as aquarium fish, requiring an enormous tank with at least 55 gallons of water. They are excellent jumpers and require a tight fitting cover if kept in aquariums. They are territorial and carnivorous, feeding on other fish, frogs, shrimps, worms, and insects. Asian bonytongues are "mouthbrooders;" The male fertilizes the eggs and he then cares for them by holding them in his mouth until they hatch and are able to swim freely. For this reason, the mouths of males are larger than females making it easy to determine the gender of individuals.

The main threat to the species is loss of habitat due to human disturbance. Also, some are captured illegally for the pet trade. This species is protected by law in its entire range, and only captive-bred Asian bonytongues can be sold or traded legally.

Wikipedia Article

This article is only an excerpt. If it appears incomplete or if you wish to see article references, visit the rest of its contents here.
Wikipedia Article
Copyright Notice: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Asian arowana".

Featured Article

The Seven Sea Turtle Species of the World
Sea turtles are graceful saltwater reptiles, well adapted to life at sea. Unlike turtles on land, sea turtles cannot retract their legs and head. But with streamlined bodies and flipper-like limbs, they are graceful swimmers able to navigate across the oceans of the world.

Here, we look at the seven species that can be found today, all of which are said to have been around since the time of the dinosaurs.



Endangered Species of Our Planet

Donate, Adopt, Get Involved

EEC Conservation Directory

Mailing List

Would you like to receive a notice and link when the new Creature Feature is posted?

Enter your e-mail address below:


Fun & Games

Are you inspired by endangered animals? Check out our games and coloring pages! More to come soon.
color endangered creatures
play hangman