RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube




Kryptopterus geminus NG, 2003


Kryptopterus: from the Greek kryptos, meaning ‘hidden’, and pterýgio, meaning ‘fin’, in reference to the reduced or absent dorsal-fin in members of this genus.

geminus: from the Latin geminus, meaning ‘twin-born’, in allusion to this species’ close morphological similarity to K. cryptopterus.


Order: Siluriformes Family: Siluridae


Known from the lower and middle Mekong river system in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam at least as far upstream as Vientiane, capital of Laos, and the lower Chao Phraya drainage in Thailand.

Type locality is ‘ Stung Treng, Mekong River 2 kilometers downstream from mouth of Tonle Sap on sandbars, Mekong River drainage, Cambodia, 13°31’N, 105°56’E’.


Inhabits flowing rivers and larger streams typified by turbid water with a lot of suspended sediment.

Maximum Standard Length

The largest officially-recorded specimen measured 171 mm.

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

An aquarium with base dimensions of 150 ∗ 45 cm or equivalent should be the smallest considered.


Décor is relatively unimportant although this species prefers weakly-lit conditions and may become skittish in the absence of cover.

Do not add introduce it to a biologically immature aquarium as it can be susceptible to swings in water chemistry.

Water Conditions

Temperature20 – 28 °C

pH6.0 – 7.5

Hardness36 – 268 ppm


Probably a predator feeding on crustaceans, invertebrates and smaller fishes in nature, although there should be no need to use such live foods in captivity.

Offer a varied diet comprising sinking dried foods, live and frozen bloodwormTubifex, etc., and perhaps the occasional small earthworm.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

Generally peaceful though it may predate on smaller fishes and is somewhat timid so does not compete well with much larger, robust or otherwise boisterous species.

Peaceful, comparably-sized cyprinids, loaches and other catfishes perhaps constitute the best options but be sure to research your choices thoroughly prior to purchase.

K. geminus is gregarious and tends to form schools so ideally four or more specimens should be purchased.


Unrecorded in aquaria. In nature it spawns at the onset of the wet season with young specimens common in seasonally-inundated areas.

NotesTop ↑

This species is likely to be traded for aquaria but probably misidentified as the very similar-looking K. cyrptopterus with which wild populations were formerly considered conspecific.

These two are closely-related and can be distinguished from congeners by the dorsal profile lacking a nuchal concavity (vs. possessing a nuchal concavity) and possessing short maxillary barbels (extending to the pectoral-fin base vs. extending beyond tip of pectoral-fin).

K. geminus can be distinguished from K. cryptopterus by possessing a narrower head (9.5–12.0 % SL vs. 12.2-14.2), longer anal-fin (62.2–72.7 % SL vs. 57.2-62.9) and snout (39.5–45.3 % HL vs. 35.1-39.8), and more laterally-placed eyes (ventral half of the orbital margin visible when the head is viewed ventrally vs. ventral two-thirds).

K. cryptopterus and K. geminus can be further told apart from all other silurid catfishes by possession of an anteriorly truncated supralabial fold with the lower edge extending beyond the base of the maxillary barbel and an elongate antorbital process of the lateral ethmoid that is not anteroposteriorly compressed.

Kryptopterus species are found only in Southeast Asia and the genus has been considered polyphyletic since Bornbusch (1995) with some former species already moved to the genera Phalacronotus and Micronema.

Those still contained within the genus are assigned to a number of putative species groups as follows:

K. bicirrhis group: K. bicirrhis, K. lais, K. palembangensis, K. macrocephalus, K. minor, K. piperatus, K. vitreolus
K. cryptopterus group: K. cryptopterus, K. geminus
K. limpok group: K. limpok, K. mononema, K. dissitus, K. baramensis, K. hesperius
K. schilbeides group: K. schilbeides, K. paraschilbeides

Bombusch (1995) identified the K. bicirrhis group as a distinct clade although he didn’t propose any synapomorphy to diagnose it.

Ng and Kottelat (2013) later noted that members normally have fewer anal-fin rays (46–67 vs. 64–85) than other congeners and placed K. piperatus and K. vitreolus within the group based on this character.


  1. Ng, H. H., 2003 - Zootaxa 305: 1-11
    Kryptopterus geminus, a new species of silurid catfish (Teleostei: Siluridae) from mainland Southeast Asia.
  2. Bornbusch, A. H., 1995 - Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 115: 1-46
    Phylogenetic relationships within the Eurasian catfish family Siluridae (Pisces: Siluriformes), with comments on generic validities and biogeography.
  3. Ferraris, C. J., Jr., 2007 - Zootaxa 1418: 1-628
    Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types.
  4. Ng, H-H. and M. Kottelat, 2013 - Zootaxa 3630: 308-316
    After eighty years of misidentification, a name for the glass catfish (Teleostei: Siluridae).
  5. Rainboth, W. J., 1996 - FAO, Rome: 1-265
    FAO species identification field guide for fishery purposes. Fishes of the Cambodian Mekong.
Missing information here? Our Knowledge Base is an ever-evolving work in progress, which naturally means that some species profiles contain more information than others. We're working on a daily basis to fill in all the gaps, so please have patience. This site relies heavily on the help of hundreds of people without whose valuable contributions it simply wouldn't exist. Information and photos regarding any freshwater or brackish fish species, its natural history or captive care is always much appreciated, so if you've anything you'd like to share please leave a comment below or email us.

No Responses to “Kryptopterus geminus”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.