Fish in Sumba Island, Indonesia

MudMinnow

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Hi. I didn't even remember that I had an account here, as I've fallen out of the fishkeeping hobby.

My reason for posting now is that I'm currently on Sumba Island in Indonesia, and have been doing a lot of swimming with goggles which means that I get to see fish. I'd like to identify the fish, but I'm having quite a bit of trouble. I thought there would be a page somewhere with pictures of freshwater fish from Sumba, and similar for marine, but I've been unable to find same.

Just in case someone can help, I'll post some descriptions here. Sorry if this is not a good question for this forum. Probably the best possible answer to my question is to point out resources for fish in Sumba that I'm not aware of.

My best experience so far is in a stream just outside of Waingapu. The most common fish there looked exactly like Pearl Danios, but I see that Pearl Danios are found in Myanmar, Thailand, and Sumatra. Sumba Island is a long way away from those locations.

Secondly, there were some bottom dwelling fish. They were small and they were too long and thin for Botia style loaches that I am familiar with, more like the thinnest of the 'shark' (like Red-Tailed Shark) family. But, they were fish shaped not snake-like like kuhli loaches. They were mostly dark brown to near black with thin lighter coloured horizontal stripes along the full length of their body.

There was a goby that looked like it might be a Sumatran Neon Goby. But, it was darker and the horizontal 'neon' line was thinner and more clearly defined than pictures of the Sumatran Neon Goby that I have seen. Also, the stripe was perhaps up a bit higher. It also appeared to have full colouration (I would wildly guess) and it was tiny. Definitely no more than 2cm long.

There are also larger gobies or similar with no particular colouration. Just a featureless dull brown generic 'fish' colour.

The above are all from one location (!) I would think that a theme tank of just the fish I saw would be sufficiently varied.

The above set of fish are those I'd most like to know about.

In the hydroelectric station here I saw a fish that if I was in the UK I might think was a smallish (maybe 8" or so) bream. There were also generic carps, which I presume would be ... generic carps. Not so interested in those. It's possible that some fish may have been introduced for aquaculture - I've seen farmed pools of Tilapia here.

I've also seen fish in rice paddies, but can't get a clear view and from topside they looked like large kilifish to me. but, I think there are no kilifish here.

On beaches at low tide there are fish that act exactly like I believe mudskippers do, walking on pectoral fins and with high up bulbous eyes. But, they are smaller than the typical mudskipper. I think these are mudskippers and they appear to match the description of Periophthalmus pusing sp. nov. here: https://www.researchgate.net/public...eostei_Gobiidae_from_the_Lesser_Sunda_Islands Except, perhaps the ones I saw appear to be more generically coloured and less patterned than the photos of those. Also: small. I don't remember seeing the black spot described. Though, I couldn't get close to them. I found that mudskippers (assuming that is what they are) don't just walk slowly across the mud but most definitely live up to their name and display high speed when approached. I've seen bigger holes on the more muddy beaches, so perhaps there are bigger specimens around. I don't go into the mangrove swamps however as I am ... I'm embarrassed to say ... scared of the crocodiles.

I also swam at Waikuri lagoon. There were lots of fish that looked like standard aquarium marine reef fish. But, somehow I can't seem to find exact matches in pictures. I think I saw damselfish, wrasses, triggerfish, some form of marine 'angel', and others. All of which had colour patterns that I can't find in pictures.
 
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Colin_T

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Gerald Allen is an ichthyologist who regularly dives around different Indonesian islands and writes books called field guides to freshwater fishes of . He also does the same books for marine fishes in different areas. Perhaps do a google search for books called "A field guide to freshwater fishes of Indonesia (or Sumba Island)". And do another search for "A field guide to the marine fishes of Sumba island".

You an also look for books by Gerald R Allen and see if there are any that cover the area you are in.
 

GaryE

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I wish I knew more to help. Fishbase puts over 1300 described species into Indonesia, but you can't search by the one island unless you labouriously go through species by species and look for occurences. I don't know of any better site.
 
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MudMinnow

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Thanks for the replies.

I looked for books by Gerald Allen. From the lists I found, it seems that he has done extensive work on the island of Papua, but I didn't find any specific examples of him publishing on the freshwater fishes of Sumba. I'm not sure I've covered all of his books, but I searched on Google Scholar as well. I note that his paper 'Coral Reef Fishes of Indonesia' states that there are 2057 known species, and I guess this number has grown. This possibly explains why I'm not finding the fish I saw in online lists of coral reef fishes of Indonesia which might have a few tens of species listed. At least I recognised a number of overall families. If Allen had surveyed the fishes of Sumba then I would be very interested in such a book. But, I haven't found such a book - yet.

For Fishbase, I did select Freshwater Fish and Indonesia and then clicked to include photos. This gave me a list of over 1200 fish, maybe half of which had photos. Which was a big job to scroll through looking at all photos for visual matches but I did it. I didn't really find matches for the fish I was looking for. They could easily be among the fish without photos, or other species. I didn't find anything that looked very much like Pearl Danios except for a few Rasboros that came from Kalimantan - again very far away. I think I'm going to consider the fish I saw as Pearl Danios until they are proven innocent. Even if they aren't native here they could be aquarium escapees.

I did search on site:fishbase.... and 'sumba' but only get four results. One is the page of Indonesian freshwater fish which has two occurences of 'Sumba', both gobies with no photos. But on searching elsewhere for what they looked like - not what I saw.

There are a lot of carps with silver sides. But, I'm interested that it's possible that the fish I saw at the hydroelectric power station was a silver barb or related species. Again, they are not noted as coming from Sumba, but as a food fish they have been introduced all over the place. I'm guessing that the fish I saw that looked like common carps were introduced common carp.

I believe that Sumba is not an island formed by volcanoes, but an errant bit of ancient supercontinent which broke off and wandered away by itself. Hence it may well have been attached to Sumatra, Java, and Kalimantan at some point and hence may share some species with those islands. Maybe.
 

Naughts

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If you take any pictures of the fish, post them here and someone might be able to identify them or point you in the right direction.
I'll be no help whatsoever but I do love to see people's photos, especially as this is both exotic and adventurous!
 

Stan510

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Photos needed!...and appreciated. Heck,I would love to see the surrounding vegetation too. Must be rare ferns and orchids and exotic plants everywhere.
 
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MudMinnow

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I charged my GoPro in the hope that I would get back there. However, I leave the island on a boat at 2am tomorrow morning and I don't think it can happen :( There are photos around that I will get eventually. There are quite a few photos on Google Maps.The photos I have will be no better than these, except that they have me in them. Hmm... that probably makes them worse :)

The following should be aimed at 'Sungai Mbatakapidu'.


There isn't really much public transport here. The only way I could get there is to go stand out on the street and wait for some random person on a scooter ask me if I want to go somewhere... I've not done this yet. Previously I went there by paying the security guard at my partner's work to take us there (and elsewhere) out of work hours.

EDIT: I've been given the hard word not to use a random scooter rider. I'm told that most of them don't have licences, haven't had training to ride, and there are a lot of accidents. And, they won't have a spare helmet for me like the more organised motorcycle taxis in larger places :(
 
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MudMinnow

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See if you can extend your stay by a couple of days and ask Mr Security guard if he is free for another trip :)

I negotiated with my partner and she allowed me to go but only if I used her regular motorcycle rider. (Whom I will admit is a safe and careful rider.) I'm letting my GoPro dry out now before opening it and hope that I have something useful. It was challenging as when we got there, there were no people and the river was full of buffalo. It did clear out, and eventually what might be Pearl Danios and other fish returned, but I don't think I saw as much as last time. I took mostly 4K footage, and a few photos. I tried to take photos of the surrounding vegetation as well. I hope this post doesn't get followed by a massive anticlimax as I'm not used to using my GoPro.

BTW: I know how much I'm going to have to pay if I miss my flight from Jakarta and have to buy another ticket :D :D
 
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MudMinnow

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It seems that the low powered Chromebook that I have isn't able to handle the 4K footage. Or something. I can see the few photos I took and they at least give an idea. I tried uploading them here using the 'Image' option, but it doesn't seem to work for me. Here is a quick packaging of the underwater photos made by sending them to myself in wetransfer. In theory there is more to come with the video footage.


I'm going to edit this post and add the shots I took of the general area showing various plant life.

EDIT: Here are shots out of the water. https://we.tl/t-1pdPIdlV1B

GOPR0216.JPG


EDIT: Oh, I have to copy the pictures to my hard drive before uploading here.

GOPR0212.JPG



And, here is a pearl danio from the internet.

Screenshot 2022-08-02 18.10.15.png
 
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Naughts

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So cool, :cool:😎 thanks! Hope you made your flight✈️😬

Videos have to be put on Youtube and linked here.
 
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MudMinnow

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So cool, :cool:😎 thanks! Hope you made your flight✈️😬

Videos have to be put on Youtube and linked here.

Thank you.

I'm hoping that this is just a taster. In a couple of locations I put the camera on a rock in the water and left it there recording video. I could see fish swimming around it.

My boat is 6am tomorrow morning. It's 6:30pm here. Sumba is remote and there are no international flights to here. It's two steps just to get to Jakarta and then out.
 

Colin_T

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How big is the silver fish in the 2nd picture?
Do you know if it had 2 dorsal fins, a small one further forward and the one in the picture?
This is exciting, it looks a bit like a female Iriatherina werneri (a rainbowfish found in Australia and New Guinea). But if it is, then you may have found a new colour form and an extended distribution range for the species. A bunch of people could be excited by this :)

The first pic has what appear to be some sort of freshwater goby. They could be a new species or someone might have found them a while back. But most gobies are not well known, nor regularly kept in freshwater aquariums.
 

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