Tokyo bitterling

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Tokyo bitterling
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Tanakia
T. tanago
Binomial name
Tanakia tanago
S. Tanaka, 1909
  • Rhodeus tanagoTanaka, 1909
  • Pseudorhodeus tanagoTanaka, 1909

The Tokyo bitterling (Tanakia tanago) is a temperate freshwater fish of the carp family (Cyprinidae). Taxonomically, it belongs to the subfamily Acheilognathinae.


The species was first described as Rhodeus tanago by Shigeho Tanaka in 1909. It is widely known as Tanakia tanago, [2] although a 2014 study suggests it is genetically distinct from other Tanakia species, and warrants placement it the monotypic genus Pseudorhodeus. [3]


In the wild, this fish is found only on the Kantō Plain of Japan, an area near the capital city, Tokyo. The fish was formerly abundant in small streams, but its habitat has been overrun by people and pollution.


There is a real risk that it could become extinct in the wild. It also suffers from competition from the related but more aggressive rosy bitterling. Bitterlings lay their eggs in freshwater mussel shells. The Tokyo bitterling lays its eggs in only one type of mussel shell, limiting its chances of successful breeding. To help protect the fish, it has been declared a "national monument" by the Japanese government, and this gives it special protection. [4]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cyprinidae</span> Family of freshwater fish

Cyprinidae is a family of freshwater fish commonly called the carp or minnow family, including the carps, the true minnows, and their relatives the barbs and barbels, among others. Cyprinidae is the largest and most diverse fish family, and the largest vertebrate animal family overall, with about 3,000 species; only 1,270 of these remain extant, divided into about 370 genera. Cyprinids range from about 12 mm in size to the 3 m (9.8 ft) giant barb. By genus and species count, the family makes up more than two-thirds of the ostariophysian order Cypriniformes. The family name is derived from the Greek word kyprînos.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bivalvia</span> Class of molluscs

Bivalvia, in previous centuries referred to as the Lamellibranchiata and Pelecypoda, is a class of marine and freshwater molluscs that have laterally compressed bodies enclosed by a shell consisting of two hinged parts. As a group, bivalves have no head and they lack some usual molluscan organs, like the radula and the odontophore. The class includes the clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, scallops, and numerous other families that live in saltwater, as well as a number of families that live in freshwater. The majority are filter feeders. The gills have evolved into ctenidia, specialised organs for feeding and breathing. Most bivalves bury themselves in sediment, where they are relatively safe from predation. Others lie on the sea floor or attach themselves to rocks or other hard surfaces. Some bivalves, such as the scallops and file shells, can swim. The shipworms bore into wood, clay, or stone and live inside these substances.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amur bitterling</span> Species of fish

The Amur bitterling is a small fish of the carp family. It is sometimes just called "bitterling", which dates back to the time when the European bitterling was still considered conspecific with R. sericeus, and "bitterling" properly refers to any species in entire genus Rhodeus. The Amur bitterling is found in Siberia, while the European bitterling is found from European Russia westwards.

<i>Rhodeus</i> Genus of fishes

Rhodeus is a genus of cyprinid fish, consisting of 23 species called bitterlings. The scientific name is derived from the Greek word rhodeos, meaning "rose". Most species in the genus are restricted to Asia, but two species are found in Europe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Redear sunfish</span> Species of fish

The redear sunfish, also known as the shellcracker, Georgia bream, cherry gill, chinquapin, improved bream, rouge ear sunfish and sun perch) is a freshwater fish in the family Centrarchidae and is native to the southeastern United States. Since it is a popular sport fish, it has been introduced to bodies of water all over North America. It is known for its diet of mollusks and snails.

Shigeho Tanaka was a Japanese ichthyologist and professor of zoology at the Imperial University of Tokyo. He published numerous works on fishes and sharks and co-authored a book on Japanese fish with famous American scientist David Starr Jordan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Japanese rice fish</span> Species of fish

The Japanese rice fish, also known as the medaka, is a member of genus Oryzias (ricefish), the only genus in the subfamily Oryziinae. This small native of Japan is a denizen of rice paddies, marshes, ponds, slow-moving streams and tide pools. It is euryhaline, occurring in both brackish and freshwater. It became popular as an aquarium fish because of its hardiness and pleasant coloration: its coloration varies from creamy-white to yellowish in the wild to white, creamy-yellow, or orange in aquarium-bred individuals. Bright yellow, red or green transgenic populations, similar to GloFish, have also been developed, but are banned from sale in the EU. The medaka has been a popular pet since the 17th century in Japan. After fertilization, the female carries her eggs attached anterior to the anal fin for a period before depositing them on plants or similar things.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cracking pearlymussel</span> Species of bivalve

The cracking pearlymussel is an endangered species of freshwater mussel, an aquatic bivalve mollusk in the family Unionidae.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rosy bitterling</span> Species of fish

The rosy bitterling or Tairiku baratanago is a small freshwater fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae (carp), native to East Asia from the Amur River basin to the Pearl River basin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Unionida</span> Order of bivalves

Unionida is a monophyletic order of freshwater mussels, aquatic bivalve molluscs. The order includes most of the larger freshwater mussels, including the freshwater pearl mussels. The most common families are the Unionidae and the Margaritiferidae. All have in common a larval stage that is temporarily parasitic on fish, nacreous shells, high in organic matter, that may crack upon drying out, and siphons too short to permit the animal to live deeply buried in sediment.

<i>Tanakia</i> Genus of fishes

Tanakia is a genus of cyprinid fish, consisting of five species that occurs in Eastern Asia. The type species is the Tanakia limbata.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">European bitterling</span> Species of fish

The European bitterling is a temperate freshwater fish belonging to the subfamily Acheilognathinae of the family Cyprinidae. It originates in Europe, ranging from the Rhone River basin in France to the Neva River in Russia. It was originally described as Cyprinus amarus by Marcus Elieser Bloch in 1782, and has been referred to in scientific literature as Rhodeus sericeus amarus. It is known simply as "the bitterling" in its native range, where it is the only species of its genus Rhodeus, and sometimes in the scientific literature, also, but this is technically wrong, being a leftover from the times when the European bitterling was united with its Siberian relative, the Amur bitterling, in R. sericeus. Properly, "bitterling" can refer to any species of Acheilognathus or Rhodeus.

<i>Rhodeus smithii</i> Species of fish

Rhodeus smithii, sometimes known as the Japanese rosy bitterling, Japanese bitterling, or Nippon baratanago is a temperate freshwater fish belonging to the Acheilognathinae subfamily of the family Cyprinidae. It originates in stagnant waters in inland rivers in Japan. It was originally described as Achilognathus smithii by Charles Tate Regan in 1908, and is also referred to as Rhodeus ocellatus smithii in scientific literature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deepbody bitterling</span> Species of fish

The deepbody bitterling or Itasenpara bitterling is a species of freshwater fish in the family of Cyprinidae. It is endemic to central and southern Japan. It grows to a maximum length of 8.0 cm.

Westralunio carteri is a species of freshwater mussel in the family Hyriidae. It is endemic to Western Australia. It is known by the common name Carter's freshwater mussel. This is the only species of the genus Westralunio found in Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Acheilognathinae</span> Subfamily of fishes

The bitterling-like cyprinids form the cyprinid subfamily Acheilognathinae. This subfamily contains four genera, although the Khanka spiny bitterling is often placed in Acheilognathus, and at least 71 described species to date. Over half of the species are in the genus Acheilognathus.

<i>Tanakia koreensis</i> Species of fish

Tanakia koreensis is a cyprinid found in Korea which can grow to a size of 8 centimeters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Striped bitterling</span> Species of fish

The striped bitterling is a species of freshwater ray-finned fish in the genus Acheilognathus. It is endemic to Lake Biwa and Lake Yogo in Japan. It typically grows to a length of 6.0 cm.

<i>Acheilognathus macropterus</i> Species of fish

Acheilognathus macropterus is a species of cyprinid fish native to China and northern Vietnam. It grows to a length of 27.5 centimetres (10.8 in) SL.


  1. Hasegawa, K.; Kanao, S.; Miyazaki, Y.; Mukai, T.; Nakajima, J.; Takaku, K.; Taniguchi, Y. (2019). "Tanakia tanago". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2019: e.T21383A110464790. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T21383A110464790.en . Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  2. Tanakia tanago. Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences Archived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine . 27 August 2014. accessed 4 Oct 2014
  3. Chang, C.-H.; Li, F.; Shao, K.-T.; Lin, Y.-S.; Morosawa, T.; Kim, S.; Koo, H.; Kim, W.; Lee, J.-S.; He, S.; Smith, C.; Reichard, M.; Miya, M.; Sado, T.; Uehara, K.; Lavoué, S.; Chen, W.-J. & Mayden, R.L. (2014). "Phylogenetic relationships of Acheilognathidae (Cypriniformes: Cyprinoidea) as revealed from evidence of both nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequence variation: Evidence for necessary taxonomic revision in the family and the identification of cryptic species". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 81: 182–194. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.08.026. PMID   25238947.
  4. ミヤコタナゴ [Tokyo bitterling] (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2022.