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'Inlecypris' maetaengensis (FANG, 1997)

Fire Bar 'Danio'

SynonymsTop ↑

Danio maetaengensis Fang, 1997; Devario maetaengensis (Fang, 1997)


Inlecypris: from Inle, referring to Inlé Lake, Myanmar, to which the type species is endemic, and Cypris, a common suffix for cyprinid genera.

maetaengensis: named for the Nam Mae Taeng river, Thailand, type locality of this species (see ‘Distribution’).




Endemic to northern Thailand where it’s known only from parts of the Mae Nam Ping tributary drainage within the upper Chao Phraya river basin.

Type locality is ‘Nam Mae Taeng River, tributary of Mae Nam Ping River, about 56 kilometers north of Chiang Mai, Thailand’.


Inhabits small, moderate-to-swiftly-flowing streams with clear water, substrates of sand, gravel and rocks and no aquatic vegetation.

Sympatric fish species include Barilius pulchellus, Neolissochilus stracheyi, Poropuntius bantamensis, Scaphiodonichthys acanthopterus, Garra cambodgiensis, Balitora sp. 1, Balitora sp. 2, Homalopteroides cf. smithi, Glyptothorax cf. laosensis, Oreoglanis sp., Channa gachua, Mastacembelus armatus, Schistura desmotes, S. poculi, S. pridii, S. spilota, and S. waltoni.

Maximum Standard Length

45 – 50 mm.

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

An aquarium with surface dimensions of 75 ∗ 30 cm or similar should be the smallest considered.


Thrives in an aquarium set up to resemble a flowing stream or river with a substrate of variably-sized, water-worn rocks, sand, fine gravel and perhaps some small boulders.

This can be further furnished with driftwood roots or branches, and while the majority of aquatic plants will fail to thrive in such surroundings hardy types such as MicrosorumBolbitis or Anubias spp. can be grown attached to the décor.

Since it naturally occurs in pristine habitats it’s probably intolerant to accumulation of organic pollutants and requires more-or-less spotless water in order to thrive.

Though very fast flow is unnecessary it should also prefer a relatively high proportion of dissolved oxygen and moderate water movement.

Weekly water changes of 30-50% volume should be considered routine, and the tank must have a very tightly-fitting cover as all Devario spp. are accomplished jumpers.

Water Conditions

Temperature20 – 26 °C

pH6.0 – 8.0

Hardness36 – 268 ppm


Almost certain to prey chiefly on insects and their larvae in nature although in the aquarium it’s a largely unfussy feeder and will accept most foods.

A good quality dried product can be used as the staple diet but this should be supplemented with regular meals of small live and frozen fare such as chironomid larvae (bloodworm), DaphniaArtemia, etc., for the best colouration and conditioning.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

A peaceful species suited to a well-chosen community aquarium.

There are plenty of potential tankmates including many cyprinids, loaches, cichlids, catfishes and characins, although as always proper research is essential in order to avoid problems.

It is a schooling species by nature and ideally should be kept in a group of at least 8-10 specimens which will not only make the fish less nervous but will result in a more effective, natural looking display.

Any aggression will also be contained as the fish concentrate on maintaining their hierarchical position within the group, and males tend to display better colours in the presence of rivals.

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexually mature females are normally deeper-bodied, less colourful, and grow a little larger than males.

Nuptial males intensify in colour, especially when reproductively active.


Like most small cyprinids Devario spp. are egg-scattering free spawners exhibiting no parental care.

When in good condition they will spawn often and in a well-planted, mature aquarium it’s possible that small numbers of fry may start to appear without intervention.

However if you want to maximise yield a more controlled approach is required.

The adult group can still be conditioned together but a smaller tank should also be set up and filled with mature water.

This should be very dimly lit and the base covered with some kind of mesh of a large enough grade so that the eggs can fall through but small enough so that the adults cannot reach them. The widely available plastic ‘grass’-type matting can also be used and works well, as does a layer of glass marbles.

Alternatively filling much of the tank with a fine-leaved plant such as Taxiphyllum spp. or wool mops can also return decent results.

The water itself should be of slightly acidic to neutral pH with a temperature towards the upper end of the range suggested above, and an air-powered sponge filter or air stone(s) should also be included to provide oxygenation and water movement.

When the adults are well-conditioned and the females appear gravid one or two pairs should then be introduced.

If ready spawning usually taking place within 24 hours, with the female tending to appear noticeably slimmer after the event, and after 48 hours the adults should be removed whether this is observed or not.

Incubation is temperature-dependant to an extent but typically lasts 24-36 hours with the young free-swimming a few days later.

Initial food should be Paramecium or similar, introducing Artemia nauplii, microworm, powdered dry foods, etc., once the fry are large enough to accept them.

NotesTop ↑

This species is also traded as ‘tiger danio’.

It’s distinguished from similar-looking species by a combination of characters as follows: lateral line complete with 31-35 pored scales; presence of both rostral and maxillary barbels; flank markings comprising a series of vertical bars which become gradually deeper, then gradually shorter, with the most posterior the same depth as the P stripe (see below for definition); P stripe itself consisting of a series of contiguous blotches.

It is most easily confused with ‘I. shanensis and Devario interruptus, but in ‘I. shanensis the lateral line has 23-25 pored scales, only rudimentary maxillary barbels may be present, and the P stripe is uniformly-pigmented.

In D. interruptus the lateral line is incomplete with 7-17 pored scales, barbels are completely absent, and the flank markings comprise a series of short, relatively wide and equally deep vertical bars/blotches which are slightly wider than the P stripe, while the P stripe consists of a row of contiguous dark blotches and terminates at the caudal-fin base.

In recent years it’s become commonplace to refer to the stripes on the body and fins of danionins as follows:

– P stripe: or ‘pigment stripe’ is the central, dark, lateral stripe on the body which extends into the caudal-fin in some species. Stripes above it are numbered P+1, P+2, etc., and those beneath P-1, P-2, P-3.
– A stripe: the central stripe on the anal-fin; the proximal stripe (above it) is A+1 and the distal stripe (beneath) A-1.
– D stripe: The submarginal dorsal-fin stripe.

The type species of the genus Inlecypris, I. auropurpurea, was originally described as a member of Barilius (Annandale, 1918) but Howes (1980a) considered it more closely related to cheline cyprinids (Chela and Laubuca spp.) based on morphological characters and erected the genus Inlecypris for it (Howes, 1980b).

Fang (2003) supported Howes’ conclusions in her 2003 phylogenetic study of the genus Danio, hypothesising that Inlecypris and Chela together form a sister group to Devario.

In a more recent phylogenetic work by Fang et al. (2009) I. auropurpurea was found to be most closely-related to the similarly-patterned Devario maetaengensis and D. shanensis, thus rendering Devario paraphyletic.

Inlecypris was therefore synonymised with Devario, a decision ratified by Tang et al. (2010), but this was reversed by Kottelat (2013) on the basis that Inlecypris species are very distinct in terms of appearance. In doing so, he noted that phylogenetic evidence suggest the existence of two genetic lineages within Devario. The first contains the species with prominent lateral stripes, which leaves the remaining members of uncertain taxonomic placement. Two of the latter grouping are currently referred to as ‘Inlecypris‘ maetaengensis and ‘I. shanensis, respectively, in order to retain monophyly of Inlecypris, but will probably be moved into a separate genus at a later date, where they may be joined by Devario apogon and D. chrysotaeniatus.


  1. Fang, F., 1997 - Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 8(1): 41-48
    Danio maetaengensis, a new species of cyprinid fish from northern Thailand.
  2. Cottle, P. W., 2010 - NPM Publishing: 1-160
    Danios and Devarios.
  3. Fang, F., 2000 - Ichthyological Research 47(1): 13-26
    Barred Danio species from the Irrawaddy River drainage (Teleostei, Cyprinidae).
  4. Fang, F., 2003 - Copeia 2003(4): 714-728
    Phylogenetic Analysis of the Asian Cyprinid Genus Danio (Teleostei, Cyprinidae).
  5. Fang, F., M. Norén, T. Y. Liao, M. Källersjö and S. O. Kullander, 2009 - Zoologica Scripta 38(1): 1-20
    Molecular phylogenetic interrelationships of the south Asian cyprinid genera Danio, Devario and Microrasbora (Teleostei, Cyprinidae, Danioninae).
  6. Kottelat, M., 2013 - Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 27: 1-663
    The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core bibiography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries.
  7. Mayden, R. L., K. L. Tang, K. W. Conway, J. Freyhof, S. Chamberlain, M. Haskins, L. Schneider, M. Sudkamp, R. M. Wood, M. Agnew, A. Bufalino, Z. Sulaiman, M. Miya, K. Saitoh, S. He, 2007 - Journal of Experimental Zoology, Molecular Development and Evolution 308B: 642-654
    Phylogenetic relationships of Danio within the order Cypriniformes: a framework for comparative and evolutionary studies of a model species.
  8. Pramod, P. K., F. Fang, K. Rema Devi, T.-Y. Liao, T. J. Indra, K. S. Jameela Beevi and S. O. Kullander, 2010 - Zootaxa 2519: 31-47
    Betadevario ramachandrani a new danionine genus and species from the Western Ghats of India (Teleostei: Cyprinidae: Danioninae).
  9. Tang, K. L., M. K. Agnew, W. J. Chen., M. V. Hirt, T. Sado, L. M. Schneider, J. Freyhof, Z. Sulaiman, E. Swartz, C. Vidthayanon, M. Miya, K. Saitoh, A. M. Simons, R. M. Wood and R. L. Mayden, 2010 - Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57(1): 189-214
    Systematics of the subfamily Danioninae (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae).

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