Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
(oriental weatherloach)



Misgurnus anguillicaudatus (oriental weatherloach)


  • Last modified
  • 06 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • oriental weatherloach
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Actinopterygii
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • M. anguillicaudatus, the oriental weatherloach, is native to Asia but has been introduced into a number of other countries via escapes from fish farms and from its use as live bait by anglers. M. anguillicaud...

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Misgurnus anguillicaudatus Günther, 1888

Preferred Common Name

  • oriental weatherloach

Other Scientific Names

  • Cobitis anguillicaudata Cantor, 1842
  • Cobitis fossilis non Linnaeus, 1758
  • Cobitis fossilis mohoity non Dybowski, 1869
  • Misgurnus crossochilus Savuage, 1878
  • Misgurnus fossilis anguillicaudatus Cantor, 1842
  • Misgurnus lividus Sauvage & Dabry de Thiersant, 1874
  • Misgurnus mizolepis non Günther, 1888
  • Misgurnus mizolepis elongatus Kimura, 1934
  • Misgurnus mizolepis fukien Nichols, 1925
  • Misgurnus mizolepis grangeri Nichols, 1925
  • Misgurnus mizolepis hainan Nichols & Pope, 1927
  • Misgurnus mizolepis mizolepis Günther, 1888
  • Misgurnus mizolepis punctatus Oshima, 1926
  • Misgurnus mizolepis unicolor Lin, 1932
  • Misgurnus mohoity non Dybowski, 1869
  • Misgurnus mohoity leopardus Nichols, 1925
  • Misgurnus mohoity yunnan Nichols, 1925
  • Ussuria leptocephala Nikolskii, 1903

International Common Names

  • English: japanese weatherfish; oriental weatherfish; pond loach; weather loach; weatherloach
  • Spanish: misgurno; misgurno de Asia
  • French: loche asiatique; loche d'étang
  • Russian: vostochnyi

Local Common Names

  • Cambodia: cá diét
  • China/Hong Kong: nai chau
  • Finland: aasianmutakala
  • Former USSR: amur weatherfish; amurskii v'yun
  • Germany: ostasiatischer schlammpeitzger
  • Japan: dojo
  • Russian Federation: amur mud loach

Summary of Invasiveness

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M. anguillicaudatus, the oriental weatherloach, is native to Asia but has been introduced into a number of other countries via escapes from fish farms and from its use as live bait by anglers. M. anguillicaudatus has negative impacts on native fish due to predation and transmission of disease.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Actinopterygii
  •                     Order: Cypriniformes
  •                         Family: Cobitidae
  •                             Genus: Misgurnus
  •                                 Species: Misgurnus anguillicaudatus


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The body of M. anguillicaudatus is mottled with darker greenish-grey to dark brown coloured markings, against a yellow-brown to brown background (FishBase, 2004). This species is recognised by its cylindrical body, five pairs of barbels around its mouth and its single short-based dorsal fin (Australian Museum, 2003). Dorsal view shows the male with larger pectoral fins and the female with fuller abdomen (Yamamoto and Tagawa, 2000). Mature males are easy to identify because the second pectoral ray is long and thick (Australian Museum, 2003). The pectoral fin is triangular rather than rounded. It has conspicuous adipose crests along the ventral and dorsal mid-lines of the caudal peduncle and suborbital spine is hidden in the skin (Kottelat, 1998). The lateral line is very short, not exceeding the length of the pectoral fin (Jayaram, 1981). It grows to a total length of 24.8 cm (Berg, 1964).


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M. anguillicaudatus is found in Myanmar and northeastern Asia and southward to Central China. This species has proved successful in the aquarium fish trade and has also been introduced to other countries (Welcomme, 1988). At least one country has reported adverse ecological impact after introduction (FishBase, 2004).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


CambodiaPresentNativeTirant , 1929
ChinaPresentNativeKottelat , 1998; Froese and Pauly, 2004
-Hong KongPresentNativeMan and Hodgkiss , 1981; Froese and Pauly, 2004
IndiaPresentNativeKapoor and et al. , 2002
JapanPresentNativeMasuda and et al. , 1984; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Korea, DPRPresentNativeFroese and Pauly, 2004
Korea, Republic ofPresentNativeWelcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004
LaosPresentNativeKottelat, 2001a
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedJuliano and et al. , 1989
TaiwanPresentNativeKottelat , 1998; Froese and Pauly, 2004
ThailandPresentNativeMasuda and et al. , 1984
TurkmenistanPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2009
VietnamPresentNativeKottelat, 2001b

North America

USAPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedYamamoto , 1992
-IndianaPresentIntroducedSimon et al., 2006Collected from Lake Michigan Basin in 2005


GermanyPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2009
ItalyPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2009
Russian FederationPresentNativeBogutskaya and Naseka , 1996
SpainPresentFranch et al., 2008First detected in Ebro River Delta in 2001


AustraliaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988
PalauPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2009


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia 1984 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)Unknown Yes Welcomme (1988)
Hawaii Asia 1900-1924 Unknown Yes Welcomme (1988)
Mexico 1961 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownWelcomme (1988)
Philippines Japan 1937 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes Welcomme (1988)
USA Asia 1930-1939 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FAO (1997)

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedRicefields Present, no further details
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalSwamps Present, no further details
Lakes Present, no further details
Rivers / streams Present, no further details
Ponds Present, no further details


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B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Preferred < 860mm precipitation annually

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 10 25

Impact Summary

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Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture Positive
Native fauna Positive

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

This species can impact native species through direct predation and through transmission of diseases (Logan et al., 1996). M. anguillicaudatus are of special concern because they possess many of the characteristics of previous successful invaders. They have broad tolerance for physiological parameters, low vulnerability to predation, a flexible diet, and a high reproductive potential (Logan et al., 1996).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Predation
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately


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Allen GR; Midgley SH; Allen M, 2002. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia, xiv + 394 pp.

Amant JAS; Hoover FG, 1969. Addition of Misgurnus anguillicaudatus (Cantor) to the California fauna. California Fish and Game, 55(4):330-331.

Arkhipchuk VV, 1999. Chromosome database. Database of Dr. Victor Arkhipchuk. Ukraine.

Australian Museum, 2003. Australian Museum Fish site. Find a fish-Misgurnus anguillicadatus. Online at Accessed 13 October 2004.

Berg LS, 1964. Freshwater fishes of the USSR and adjacent countries. volume 2, 4th edition. Jerusalem: Israel Program for Scientific Translations Ltd. (Russian version published 1949).

Bogutskaya NG; Naseka AM, 1996. Cyclostomata and fishes of Khanka Lake drainage area (Amur river basin). An annotated check-list with comments on taxonomy and zoogeography of the region. Zool. Inst. Russ. Acad. Sci., 89 pp.

FAO, 1997. FAO Database on Introduced Aquatic Species. FAO, Rome, Italy: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

FishBase, 2004. Entry for Misgurnus anguilicaudatus. Main ref. Talwar PK, Jhingran AG, 1991. Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 1. Rotterdam: AA Balkema, 528-529. Online at Accessed 28 June 2004.

Franch N; Clavero M; Garrido M; Gaya N; López V; Pou-Rovira Q; Queral JM, 2008. On the establishment and range expansion of oriental weatherfish (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) in NE Iberian Peninsula. Biological Invasions, 10(8):1327-1331.

Froese R; Pauly D, 2004. FishBase DVD. Penang, Malaysia: Worldfish Center. Online at

Froese R; Pauly D, 2007. FishBase.

Froese R; Pauly D, 2009. FishBase.

Hinegardner R; Rosen DE, 1972. Cellular DNA content and the evolution of teleostean fishes. Am. Nat., 106(951):621-644.

Jayaram KC, 1981. The freshwater fishes of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Sri Lanka – A handbook. Calcutta: Zoological Survey of India, 475 pp.

Juliano RO; Guerrero R III; Ronquillo I, 1989. The introduction of exotic aquatic species in the Philippines. In: De Silva SS, ed. Proceedings of the Workshop on Introduction of Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia: The Asian Fisheries Society, 83-90.

Kapoor D; Dayal R; Ponniah AG, 2002. Fish biodiversity of India. National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources Lucknow, India, 775 pp.

Klinkhardt M; Tesche M; Greven H, 1995. Database of fish chromosomes. Westarp Wissenschaften, 179 pp.

Kottelat M, 1998. Fishes of the Nam Theun and Xe Bangfai basins, Laos, with diagnoses of twenty-two new species (Teleostei: Cyprinidae, Balitoridae, Cobitidae, Coiidae and Odontobutidae). Ichthyological Exploration in Freshwater, 9:1-128.

Kottelat M, 2001. Fishes of Laos. Colombo, Sri Lanka: WHT Publications Ltd., 198 pp.

Kottelat M, 2001. Freshwater fishes of northern Vietnam. A preliminary check-list of the fishes known or expected to occur in northern Vietnam with comments on systematics and nomenclature. Environment and Social Development Unit, East Asia and Pacific Region. The World Bank. Freshwater Fish, Vietnam, 123 pp.

Lei FY; Wang BX, 1990. Studies on reproduction and growth of loach. Acta Hydrobiologica Sinica, 14(1):60-67.

Logan DJ; Bibles EL; Markle DF, 1996. Recent collections of exotic aquarium fishes in the freshwaters of Oregon and thermal tolerance of oriental weatherfish and pirapatinga. California Fish and Game, 82(2):66-80.

Man SH; Hodgkiss IJ, 1981. Hong Kong freshwater fishes. Hong Kong: Urban Council, Wishing Printing Company, 75 pp.

Masuda H; Amaoka K; Araga C; Uyeno T; Yoshino T, 1984. The fishes of the Japanese Archipelago. Vol. 1. Tokyo, Japan: Tokai University Press, 437 pp.

Simon TP; Bright G; Veraldi F; Smith JR; Stahl JR, 2006. New records for the alien oriental weatherfish, Misgurnus anguillicaudatus, in the Lake Michigan basin, Indiana (Cypriniformes: Cobitidae). Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, 115(1):32-36.

Sterba G, 1983. The Aquarium Encyclopedia. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 605 pp.

Suzuki R, 1983. Multiple spawning of the cyprinid loach, Misgurnus anguillicaudatus. Aquaculture, 31(2/4):233-243.

Tirant G, 1929. Oeuvre ichtyologique de G. Tirant.. Réimpression par le Service Océanographique des pêches de l’Indochine, 6° Note, 175 p. Gouvernement Général de l’Indochine, Saïgon.

Welcomme RL, 1988. International introductions of inland aquatic species. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, No. 294:x + 318 pp.

Yamamoto MN, 1992. Occurrence, distribution and abundance of accidentally introduced freshwater aquatic organisms in Hawaii. State of Hawaii, Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration, Dingell-Johnson JOR. Freshwater Fisheries Research and Surveys, Project No. F-14-R-16.

Yamamoto MN; Tagawa AW, 2000. Hawai’i’s native and exotic freshwater animals. Mutual Publishing, Honolulu, Hawaii, 200 pp.

Links to Websites

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Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission


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01/02/2010 Updated by:

Vicki Bonham, CABI, Nosworthy Way, Wallingford, OX10 8DE, UK

Main Author
Sunil Siriwardena
Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA, UK

Distribution Maps

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