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Mastacembelus erythrotaenia


Mastacembelus erythrotaenia
Fire Eel
火鳗
The fire eel (Mastacembelus erythrotaenia) is a large freshwater fish found in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The fire eel is an extremely elongated fish (not a true eel) with a distinctive pointed snout and underslung mouth. The body is laterally compressed, particularly the rear third, where it flattens as it joins the caudal fin and forms an extended tail. It is part of a group of fishes called spiny eels that also includes Tire Track and Peacock eels. The group gets the "spiny" part of its common name from the many small dorsal spines that precede the dorsal fin. The fire eel's base coloring is dark brown/grey, while the belly is generally a lighter shade of the same color. The pattern varies by individual. Usually several bright red lateral stripes and spots mark the body. The red markings vary in intensity depending on the age and condition of the individual. Usually the markings are yellow/amber in juvenile fish, changing to a deep red in larger ones. Often the anal, pectoral, and dorsal fins have a red edging.
The fire eel can grow to a very considerable size in the wild with specimens often exceeding 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) in length. However, due to limiting factors in the captive environment they usually reach a maximum of around 55 centimeters (22 in) even in very large aquaria.
Fire eels inhabit river environments with slow to briskly moving water and fine sediment. In the wild they occur across a relatively broad area covering a large part of Southeast Asia including Borneo, India, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Sumatra, and Thailand. They are bottom-dwellers that spend large portions of their time buried in the riverbed, often leaving only their snout visible. However, they are voracious predators and when hunting will visit all depths.
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