Kryptopterus bicirrhis

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Kryptopterus bicirrhis
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Siluridae
Genus: Kryptopterus
K. bicirrhis
Binomial name
Kryptopterus bicirrhis

Kryptopterus bicirrhis, often called the glass catfish, is an Asian glass catfish species of the genus Kryptopterus. Until 1989, the concept of K. bicirrhis included its smaller relative Kryptopterus vitreolus ("ghost catfish"; often confused with K. minor). Its scientific name K. bicirrhis and common name glass catfish are often still used in the aquarium fish trade to refer to the actual K. vitreolus; as it seems, the larger and more aggressive true K. bicirrhis was only ever exported in insignificant numbers.[2][3][4]

In western Borneo, where K. minor and K. bicirrhis are sympatric, both species are known as lais tipis in the Malay language, but when locals want to distinguish the two, they refer to K. minor as lais limpok. In Cambodia, where it is known as trey kes prak, the Khmer people use the glass catfish as an ingredient in the fine fish condiment prahoc.[5]


The true K. bicirrhis is easily separated from K. vitreolus. K. bicirrhis reaches a significantly larger size, up to 15 cm (5.9 in) standard length,[6] and most of its body is not clearly transparent (only obviously transparent around the head).[2][3][4] The body of K. bicirrhis is mostly opaque and light greyish.[2][3][4]

When struck by light, it has an iridescence, and it turns milky white when it dies, it has two long barbels for locating food,[6] which are as long again as the body in front of the anal fin. The dorsal fin is reduced to a tiny triangle, and the pectoral fins are longer than the head.[2][3]


Kryptopterus bicirrhis is found in Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, and the Chao Phraya and Mekong drainage basins.[7]

This freshwater catfish inhabits large rivers with turbid water, where they typically live near the shore in fast-flowing water, it seems to prefer peaty water with a rather low temperature for its tropical range, around 21 to 26 °C (70 to 79 °F). It is a diurnal predator and mainly eats water bugs and occasionally smaller fishes.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allen, D. (2013). "Kryptopterus bicirrhis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "Kryptopterus bicirrhis". Cat-eLog Data Sheets. PlanetCatfish. 6 April 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Ng, Heok Hee; Kottelat, Maurice (20 March 2013). "After eighty years of misidentification, a name for the glass catfish (Teleostei: Siluridae)". Zootaxa. 3630 (2): 308–316. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3630.2.6. PMID 26131513.
  4. ^ a b c "Kryptopterus bicirrhis". SeriouslyFish. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  5. ^ Rainboth, Walter J. (1996). Fishes of the Cambodian Mekong. FAO Species Identification Field Guide for Fishery Purposes. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization. p. 146. ISBN 92-5-103743-4.
  6. ^ a b Hennessy, Kathryn, ed. (2010). Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth. DK Publishing. p. 333. ISBN 978-0-7566-6752-8.
  7. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Kryptopterus bicirrhis" in FishBase. July 2014 version.