Systematic position
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Beloniformes (Needlefishes)
Suborder: Belonoidei (= Exocoetoidei)
Superfamily: Exocoetoidea
Family: Hemiramphidae (Halfbeaks)
Subfamily: Zenarchopterinae
Genus: Dermogenys
Species: D. pusilla

Synonym: Dermogenys pusillus Kuhl & van Hasselt, 1823

Common/local names
English: Wrestling halfbeak
Bangladesh: Ek Thota (এক ঠোটা)

Distributions: Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, China and the Philippines (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Conservation status: Endangered in Bangladesh due to habitat loss (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Morphology: Body elongated and slightly compressed. Upper jaw short, triangular, without a mesial keel. Lower jaw 2.0-2.5 times longer than upper jaw, developed into a bony beak. Villiform teeth present in many rows on both jaws. This fish is viviparous and females larger in size than males (Rahman, 1989 and 2005; IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Dorsal fin originates above 6th or 7th ray of anal. Pectorals as long as head excluding snout. Pelvics originate at center between anterior margin of eye and tip of caudal. Caudal rounded. Anterior inferior part of anal fin in males modified as intromottent organ (Rahman, 1989 and 2005).

Color of the body olive-brown or brownish grey, with more or less red on flanks, paler to nearly white on belly; males with a clear red spot on pelvic fins (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Fin formula:
D. 3-4/6; P1. 10; P2. 1/5; A. 3-4/11-12 (Rahman, 1989 and 2005)
D iii 6-9; A i 14-15; P i 8; V i 5 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991)

Maximum lengths: Female 7.1 cm and male 4.5 cm (Rahman, 1989 and 2005; IUCN Bangladesh, 2000) and 7.5 cm (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Habitats: Inhibits fresh and slightly brackish waters (rivers, rivulets, canals, drains, ponds and lakes) (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Recorded from Karnaphuli river and reservoir near Kaptai of Bangladesh (Rahman, 1989 and 2005).

Spawning: Live-bearer (viviparous) and sexes can be separated what fishes are about 2.5 cm in length (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Fishery info: Not so popular as food fish, but may be used in controlling mosquito larvae; may be used as aquarium fish (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).



IUCN Bangladesh (2000) Red book of threatened fishes of Bangladesh, IUCN- The world conservation union. xii+116 pp.

Rahman AKA (1989) Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 1st edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 60-61.

Rahman AKA (2005) Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 2nd edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 75-76.

Talwar PK and Jhingran AG (1991) Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries, Vol. 2, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi-Calcutta, pp. 732-733.

van Hasselt JC (1823) Uittreksel uit een’ brief van Dr. J. C. van Hasselt, aan den Heer C. J. Temminck. Algemein Konst- en Letter-bode II Deel (35): 130-133.


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Wrestling halfbeak, Dermogenys pusilla Kuhl & van Hasselt, 1823

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Roni Chandra Mondal

Research student, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh. More...

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