Dennis got me a few crypts here. We also met commercial fish collectors who had collected hundreds of harlequin rasboras for an exporter. They had no interest in P. nagyi and asked David if he was looking for B. imbellis. Dennis asked them about B. tussyae, but they had no knowledge of these fish. We left Kuantan and drove on to Kemaman, where we stopped for the night.
More Leeches than Fish
We left Kemaman at 7: 30 a.m., and
after a couple of phone calls to one of
We drove off to Ibok in the
early afternoon and found little
or no water flowing through the
site where we had fished in 1996.
This time we collected a few
B. tussyae, P. nagyi, B. waseri,
Channa spp., and rasboras. But
things looked bleak because the
water levels were very low, and
it was evident from the amount
of plastic bottles and similar
objects that the sites were being
disturbed a lot.
We then went in search of a
fish that Dennis had previously
found and which he thought
might be B. stigmosa, but we met
with no success. David ventured
into the stagnant water and
came out with a family of buffalo leeches
attached to his stomach. He lit up a
cigarette and promptly touched the tip
of the cigarette to each of them, causing
them to lose their grip and fall one by one
to the ground.
We drove past Kuala Berang where
P. paludicola used to be found, but
unfortunately, with all the development,
it has not been collected at the locality for
many years. We do not know if it is even
found there anymore.
After an extensive search, the author eventually found B. tussyae in
this blackwater habitat.
We drove toward Rompin for
blackwater sites, but the pools
had no signs of any fish. When
we did find fish, they were the
common croaking gourami. We
searched in vain for B. tussyae
sites, but, alas, it was not our day
to locate this fish.
We even tried searching
along the road leading to Endau
Rompin National Park but were
unsuccessful in finding any of
the B. tussyae. However, we did
collect a few young C. melasoma,
which were swimming in a pool
outside the park. Most of the
habitats had been changed by the
development in the area, and the
forest had been cleared away.
It was late by the time we
arrived at Rompin, so we checked
into a hotel, the Sri Rompin.
B. tussyae exhibits a fiery complexion that contrasts well with any lush vegetation.
Day 6: Bettas
I woke up as the sun rose
in the sky, turning it pink, blue, and
purple. Dennis drove us around for B.
tussyae sites. After an hour of driving
and checking out many likely blackwater
habitats but finding nothing but a few
climbing perch, we drove out of Rompin.
A few miles from Rompin, Dennis spied
a blackwater stream near the road and I
got out of the car to do a little fishing.
The first dip of the net yielded two nice
red B. tussyae, and it was evident that
there were lots of them to be found
here. We also found B. waseri, B. bellica,
chocolate gouramis, Boraras maculatus,
Luciocephalus, and P. nagyi in small
numbers. It was a very nice habitat,
typical of what we had found in 1996.