Name: Chinese Emperor. aka Chinese Sucker. aka Wimple Carp.
aka Siamese Shark
Scientific name: Myxocyprinus asiaticus
Range: China. Middle/Upper Yangtze river
Habitat: Freshwater streams
Status: Endangered species
Diet in the wild: benthic invertebrates and algae from rocks
and logs (omnivore).
Diet in the zoo: flake, vegetable matter supplemented with
live/frozen foods such as bloodworm or brine shrimp.
Location in the Zoo: James
R. Record Aquarium
Tip of dorsal fin can reach to over 2' in height
Body length up to 3' in nature and can weigh approx. 80 lbs!.
Relatively slow grower - about 2 inches per year. (a 7'' fish is about
5 years old) life span can include 25 years
When fish become adults they loose the characteristic vertical stripes
and dark colors. As adults, M. asiaticus, are a peachy flesh color
with faint horizontal stripes.
Sucker fish courtesy of Fish Capsule
Chinese sucker fish are community fish. They travel in groups and migrate
up the Yangtze river to spawn. The females lay an enormous amount of eggs
(50,000+) which are then guarded by the males.
Placid in nature these fish exhibit an almost 'clownish' manner, swimming
along the edges and contours of the aquarium, occasionally swimming along
plants or up the sides of the tank until they are inverted and drift back
down to the bottom.
The Chinese sucker (only sucker unique to China) searches for food
by sifting the river bottom sand and 'sucking' food from in between
rocks and debris.
M. asiatics prefer temperatures between 65 and 82 degrees F
(in aquariums the pH between 6 and 7.5).
These fish also operate during the day, and almost immediately stop
and rest when all lights have been turned off (in the aquarium).
The Chinese sucker was once a popular food in China. After the completion
of the Yangtze river dam, catches declined dramatically; reestablishing
populations have not been successful. The Myxocyprinus asiaticus
has now become a protected animal.
Special anatomical, physiological
or behavioral adaptations:
Suckers get their names from the presence of a "toothless mouth and
a comb like row of teeth on the pharyngeal bones of the throat" (Nichols,
p.58). M. asiatics are considered one of the most primitive species
in its family.
These fish have frequently been known to change color during different
times of the day - from light to dark and vice versa.
courtesy of Notcatfish.com
Comments about the Chinese Sucker of the Fort
Tim Huebner. Senior Advisor of Aquarium. (for 8.5 years)
Fish first entered the U.S. pet trade in 1976, when Nixon opened borders
to trade with China. The Chinese Sucker spends most of its time sifting
through gravel (mainly for food), uprooting plants and rocks. The M.
asiaticus shares its tank with fish such as the Long-nose Elephant
(Gnathonemus petersi) from Africa and the peaceful Spanner fish (Barbodes
lateristriga); however their relatives, the Tiger Barbs, inhabit a seperate
space due to their habit of nipping at the fins of other fish. The Fort
Worth zoo feeds their Chinese Sucker a combination of lean horse heart,
shrimp/bone/oat meal, and children's vitamins held together by a gelatin
Going to the zoo was fun! Haven't been in years. Anyways, :), after
finally locating the Chinese Emperor I was suprised to see how big they
can get. One was about 30-40 lbs! Two more where in the same aquarium but
a lot smaller. After observing them for about ten minutes I concluded that
they spent the majority of their time looking for food- swallowing pebbles
to extract the food from around it, then spitting out the pebbles from
slits behind their head. They were relatively active - swimming constantly
and upheaving rocks and such to find food. Keeping to themselves and their
own interests, they did not often interact with the smaller fish that occupied
the same tank.
at the Fort Worth Zoo