Silver Dragon Fish

Silver Dragon Fish
SILVER DRAGON FISH (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum)
Pronounced: Sklay-roe-pages for-moe-sus Order: Osteoglossiforme
Kingdom: Animalia Family: Osteoglossidae
Phylum: Chordata Genus: Scleropages
Class: Actinopterygii Species: Formosus


Also called the Asian Arowana, this primitive fish is in danger of becoming extinct due to habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade industry. Found only in the MeKong Basin of Viet Nam and Cambodia, Southeastern Thailand, Myanmar, southern Malay Peninsula, Borneo and Sumatra, they require specialized habitat – lakes, deep swamps, flooded forests, and deep, slow streams with overhanging vegetation. Because this habitat is routinely being drained for agriculture and urbanization, and has also been impacted by forest fires, this species is now Endangered.

The Dragon Fish can grow up to 7 kg and 1 m in length. They are late, compared to other fish, in reaching adulthood, at 3 or 4 years old, and lay fewer eggs than many other fish, usually between 30 – 100. They are mouth-brooders, which means at least one parent, in this case the male, keeps the eggs and fry (young fish) in its mouth most of the time to protect them from predators. About 30 juveniles per brood survive past the mouth-brooding stage.

Silver Dragon Fish were the top predators in their food chain, so naturally had fewer numbers in order to balance their ecosystem. Adults are also very territorial, which means fewer animals in a given area. Their jaws are large and have two “barbel’s on the lower side. They also have sharp teeth. They swim at the water surface, waiting motionlessly for something to fall in or land, such as large insects or other small animals, then they use their powerful fins to lunge at their prey. Their large mouth can open wide, while sharp teeth and strong jaws clamp down on their prey. Their barbels sense vibrations when something falls into the water and directs them to their prey.


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