Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cobitidae

Scientific Name: Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
Species Authority: (Cantor, 1842)
Common Name(s):
English Pond loach, Dojo loach, Weather loach
Taxonomic Notes: Large morphological interpopulation variability and differences in chromosome numbers suggest that several species may be confused under the name M. anguillicaudatus. Some populations from Viet Nam earlier identified as this species are in fact M. multimaculatus and M. tonkinensis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-09-20
Assessor(s): Zhao, H.
Reviewer(s): Kottelat, M. & Smith, K.
Contributor(s): Allen, D.
A widespread species that has been very widely introduced. Although there is some evidence that the species has declined in parts of the species' native range, the species is considered Least Concern at present.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is known from eastern Asia, from eastern Russia (Siberia (Tugur and Amur drainages) and Sakhalin), Korea, Japan, and eastern China south to northern Viet Nam (to the Ma River; Masuda et al. 1984, Zheng 1989) and Lao PDR (native in the Nam Ma basin, also present in the Nam Theun of the Mekong basin but is probably introduced there; Kottelat 2001, M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2011).

It has been very widely introduced through the ornamental fish trade, and as a food and a live angling bait fish; Germany (Rhine), Italy (Ticino, north of Milan), Spain, the Aral Sea basin, North America (widely introduced on the eastern and western coasts of USA), Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, the Philippines, Australia and Hawaii (as a foodfish by immigrants).
Countries occurrence:
China (Anhui, Beijing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong, Shanxi, Tianjin, Zhejiang); Hong Kong; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Russian Federation (Amur, Sakhalin); Spain (Spain (mainland) - Introduced); Taiwan, Province of China (Taiwan, Province of China (main island)); Viet Nam
Australia; Cambodia; Canada; Germany; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Kazakhstan; Philippines; Thailand; Turkmenistan; United States; Uzbekistan
Present - origin uncertain:
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Populations are have declined in parts of the species natural range (China and Japan; Kano et al. 2010, Qin et al. 2010) as a result of ecosystem loss and degradation.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Found in still or gently flowing rivers, lakes and ponds with muddy bottoms. The species is widely associated with agricultural landscapes especially rice fields and field ditches (Kano et al. 2010, Qin et al. 2010). Feeds on small aquatic organisms and can breathe air to supplement oxygen in oxygen-depleted waters.
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Commonly used by anglers as live bait and also found in the aquarium trade. The species can be found in large quantities in markets, and it is also cultivated (M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2011). Utilised in traditional Chinese medicine for treatment of a range illnesses including  hepatitis, carbuncles, inflammations and cancers (Qin et al. 2010), and production is high (hence the need for cultivation) in China and Korea.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Kano et al. (2010) record that the species has been impacted by agricultural intensification, especially the use of agrochemicals, and the species has declined in parts of China as a result of ecosystem degradation (Qin et al. 2010). The species global population is expanding through introductions, and is not through to be threatened.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Research is required into the species natural and introduced ranges, the causes of population declines, and the taxonomic status of populations.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.2. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers/Streams/Creeks
suitability: Suitable  major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:No
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.7. Artificial/Aquatic - Irrigated Land (includes irrigation channels)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:No
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.9. Artificial/Aquatic - Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches
suitability: Suitable  major importance:No

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
7. Natural system modifications -> 7.3. Other ecosystem modifications
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.3. Herbicides and pesticides
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Medicine - human & veterinary
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Kano, Y., Kawaguchi, Y., Yamashita, T., and Shimatani, Y. 2010. Distribution of the oriental weatherloach, Misgurnus anguillicaudatus, in paddy fields and its implications for conservation in Sado Island, Japan. Ichthyological Research 57(2): 180-188.

Kottelat, M. 2001. Fishes of Laos. WHT Publications Ltd., Colombo 5, Sri Lanka.

Masuda, H., Amaoka, K., Araga, C., Uyeno, T. and Yoshino, T. 1984. The fishes of the Japanese Archipelago. Tokai University Press, Tokyo, Japan.

Qin, C.G., Huang, K.X., and Xu, H.B. 2010. Protective effect of polysaccharides from the loach on the in vitro and in vivo peroxidative damage of hepatocyte. Journal of Nutrirional Biochemistry 15: 592-597.

Zheng, C.-Y. 1989. Fishes of the Zhujiang river. Science Press, Beijing.

Citation: Zhao, H. 2012. Misgurnus anguillicaudatus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T166158A1115635. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided