Macrognathus pavo

Macrognathus pavo, a spiny eel is a newly identified freshwater fish species from Myanmar (Burma). The fish lives in a hill stream in Myanmar and specimens were collected by Museum scientists on a recent expedition to that region.

Macrognathus pavo was described by Dr Ralf Britz, one of the Museum’s fish researchers in a recent publication giving the fish its Latin name and listing important details of the new discovery.

Species detail

Macrognathus pavo belongs to a group of 11 closely related species, the Macrognathus aculeatus group. There are 82 spiny eel species in total, 12 of which come from Myanmar. 

The most remarkable feature of Macrognathus pavo  is that it is the least spiny of the spiny eels having between 4 and 6 dorsal spines only. Most spiny eel species have many more dorsal spines, up to 42. 

The life colouration is also highly unusual among spiny eels. Macrognathus pavo is the only one to have dorsal, anal and caudal fins tinged with red.

  • Macrognathus pavo

    Learn the general characteristics of Macrognathus pavo in comparison to other spiny eel relatives and discover the origin of its name.

  • Macrognathus pavo habitat
    Habitat and distribution

    Macrognathus pavo was discovered as part of a research programme concentrating on the biodiversity of Myanmar. Find out more about the sole area of Myanmar that this species is known from.

  • Macrognathus pavo
    Biology and behaviour

    While the gathering of detailed information about this newly discovered species is still in its early stages, find out what is known about the biology and behaviour of Macrognathus pavo.

  • Macrognathus pavo

    Get reference material for Macrognathus pavo.


Macrognathus pavo

Macrognathus pavo was recently described by Museum fish researcher, Dr Ralf Britz.

Macrognathus pavo

Macrognathus pavo make alert and attractive aquarium subjects.

Macrognathus pavo

A characteristic feature of spiny eels is their long snouts or trunks which are highly sensitive and are used to probe around for insects and worms.

Macrognathus pavo

Macrognathus pavo differs from all other Asian mastacembelids by the presence of only 4-6 dorsal-fin spines (vs 11-40).

Macrognathus pavo habitat

Macrognathus pavo is only known from this mountain stream, Kyeintali Chaung in the Rakhine Yoma mountain range in western Myanmar.

About the author

Oliver Crimmen
Mr Oliver Crimmen

Fish curator, Vertebrates Division.

Share this


Macrognathus pavo is described in this reference 

Britz, R., 2010.Species of the Macrognathus aculeatus group in Myanmar with remarks on M. caudiocellatus (Teleostei:Synbranchiformes: Mastacembelidae). Ichthyol. Explor.Freshwater 20: 295-308.