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FAQs on Freshwater to Brackish Blennioid Fishes

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Omobranchus meniscus. The brachiosaurus blenny from Singapore, BR blenny 6/28/10
Hello WWM
my name is Yi Kai from Singapore.
<Hello Yi Kai,>
I'm sure you are aware of Omobranchus anolius, the brachiosaurus blenny, that is only found in Australia.
<Yes, and also Omobranchus zebra, a brackish water species occasionally traded as an aquarium fish.
Then there's Omobranchus ferox, another brackish water species with similar colouration to yours, and a notable hitchhiker that has become established well outside is native range, e.g., Hawaii, thanks to ship ballast water.>
There is another species of Omobranchus recently discovered in late 2009, known as Omobranchus meniscus. It was recently discovered in Singapore late last year in 2009. This species was found living in brackish water. There have been no photographs, or other important information about it however, not even on Fishbase.
<It is on Fishbase now:
Today, a group of friends and myself collected 13 specimens of an unidentified blenny with a very conspicuous bulge on it's head. Instantly we thought Omobranchus, or Salarias.
<Does look like the hump on Omobranchus anolius, but do be aware that this sorts of humps are not uncommon among blennies. Here in Europe, our brackish water blenny Salarias pavo has a very similar hump. So without
seeing other Omobranchus species, it's hard to know if the hump on Omobranchus anolius is exceptional for the genus.>
I took back 7 of the original 13 and one of them did not make it on the way back.
<Omobranchus zebra at least is [a] very sensitive to low oxygen levels and [b] very territorial. Both these factors will impact successful collection, handling and shipping.>
The other remaining 6 are living in a holding tank with liverock for now.
My friends and I have done plenty of work trying to identify this blenny.
We ruled out Salarias as the finnage were totally off.
Omobranchus was the only logical genus for it.
<Indeed. Has the colours of Omobranchus zebra, but the hump of Omobranchus anolius.>
However, none of the blennies in this genus matched the identity of our "mystery" blenny. Those that did look somewhat similar were far off range, found only in Japan or Taiwan.
<Perhaps, but there are 23 species in the genus Omobranchus, and photos of species other than Omobranchus zebra are not common on the Internet.>
We then stumbled upon Omobranchus meniscus. The newly discovered species in this genus. There have been no photos of it, like I said, not even on Fishbase. We found our 13 specimens in brackish water which suited the habitat. Moreover, it was found in Singapore, where it has been recently discovered. We found egg masses of it too, which were orange. A local clownfish and Dottyback breeder who was with me, however, did not bring
back the eggs. Could this be the elusive Omobranchus meniscus?
<Quite possibly.>
The tropical brachiosaurus blenny of Singapore? The one where no photos have ever been taken. If it is indeed O. meniscus, then this would be the first ever photographs of it and probably the first ever live specimen in captivity since it's discovery.
<Oh, I doubt the first ever live specimen photographed. The problem is that much of the literature is in books, not the Internet. You really need to contact someone working on the Blenniidae to find out if they can help.>
I've attached the mediocre photographs I took with my digital camera. I hope you do find the time to read this and perhaps post it up on your website for other opinions. Whatever the fish is, it could very well be the new Omobranchus. Or not. Only time will tell. :)
<Indeed! Good luck with your further researches. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Omobranchus meniscus. The brachiosaurus blenny from Singapore (Bob, feel free to comment)
Thanks for your quick reply. I will probably send this photo to someone working on fish (if I can find them) and maybe provide a fin clipping for DNA studies if need be. I do hope to positively ID this species and if it's indeed O. meniscus, then it would be great news that this elusive fish is being made known. I agree with you that there's probably a photo of it somewhere in the world. It's probably impossible for a photograph to not be taken but at the same time, write something about the fish.
I do appreciate your reply however and thanks for your time. The 6 blennies are doing very well and are chowing down on Mysis shrimp now.
<Glad to help. Do try to keep the diet as varied as possible. I'd add some chopped clams and white fish to their diet, plus some sushi Nori (or similar) if they will take it. I don't know who is working on blennies at the moment. But could try the "goby group" on Yahoo Groups. There are several helpful goby scientists there, and they may well be able to put you in touch with blenny specialists. Cheers, Neale.>

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