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Scleropages formosus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII OSTEOGLOSSIFORMES OSTEOGLOSSIDAE

Scientific Name: Scleropages formosus
Species Authority: (Müller & Schlegel, 1844)
Common Name(s):
English Asian Arowana, Asian Bonytongue, Golden Arowana, Golden Dragon Fish, Kelesa
French Scléropage D'Asie, Scléropage Formosus
Spanish Pez Lengüihueso Malayo
Taxonomic Notes: Until 2003, all Scleropages from southeast Asia were considered to belong to the same species; S. formosus. In 2003 Pouyaud et al., considered there to actually be four species, three of which they described as new (S. aureus, S. legendrei, S. macrocephalus). Kottelat and Widjanarti (2005) reviewed the published data and did not reach the same conclusions from the quality of the data presented, and in order for more than one species to be recognised, a professional standard study would need to be presented.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-02-20
Assessor(s): Kottelat, M.
Reviewer(s): Juffe Bignoli, D. & Vidthayanon, C.
Justification:
The population of this species is at very low densities throughout its range following significant declines in the past. This has been a highly valued species in the international aquarium trade since the 1970s and has been listed on Appendix I of CITES since 1975. There are a number of registered CITES breeders in Asia and the specimens they produce can be imported into several nations. Other nations restrict or prohibit possession of this species. Illegal trade does occur. Habitat degradation throughout the species' range, caused by a variety of human activities, is now its main threat. For example, a number of swamp habitats have been transformed into agricultural land. Areas of forested habitat have been logged and transformed into plantations. Forest fires have impacted most of the species range in Indonesia, especially peat swamp forests. This species is assessed as Endangered based on a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and habitat quality, and levels of exploitation.

Further taxonomic study is required to confirm the taxonomic status of populations of the species across its range.
History:
1996 Endangered (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Endangered
1994 Insufficiently Known (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Insufficiently Known (IUCN 1990)
1988 Insufficiently Known (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Insufficiently Known (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in the Mekong basin in Viet Nam and Cambodia, southeastern Thailand, Tenassarim (Myanmar), the Malay Peninsula from Sungai Golok southwards, Borneo, Sumatra. This species was also introduced to Singapore (Blanc and D'Aubenton 1965, Kottelat et al. 1993, Kottelat and Lim 1995, Rainboth 1996).
Countries:
Native:
Cambodia; Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatera); Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak); Myanmar; Thailand; Viet Nam
Introduced:
Singapore
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population of this species is at very low density throughout its range following significant declines in the past of well over 50% (M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2011). Populations are currently decreasing.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a fairly large mouthbrooding fish which lives in lakes, deep parts of swamps, flooded forests and stretches of deep rivers with slow currents and dense, overhanging vegetation (M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2011).
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This has been a highly valued species in the international aquarium trade since the 1970s. There are a number of registered CITES breeders in Asia and the specimens they produce can be imported into several nations. Other nations restrict or prohibit possession of this species. Illegal trade does occur.

This species is utilized as part of local subsistence fisheries, although fisherman catching one would try to keep it alive as it would be worth more in the aquarium trade (M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2011).
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Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has been targeted for the aquarium trade since the 1970s, which has impacted populations. Now trade is regulated, but enforcement is not optimal and there is still pressure on some of the wild populations (the most colourful ones). It is also caught incidentally in local fisheries.

Habitat degradation throughout the species range caused by a variety of human activities is now its main threat. For example, a number of swamp habitats have been transformed into agricultural land. Areas of forested habitat have been logged and transformed into plantations. Forest fires have impacted most of the species range in Indonesia, especially peat swamp forests (M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2011).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has been listed on Appendix I of CITES since 1975. Parts of the species range is within protected areas. These are mostly swamps and lakes but aquatic biodiversity is not really considered.

Citation: Kottelat, M. 2013. Scleropages formosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 July 2014.
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