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Boulengerella maculata (Spotted Pike Characin, Spotted Gar)

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All Boulengerella are large, pike-like characins with long, pointed jaws filled with sharp teeth. The differences between the species are often subtle, with Boulengerella maculata and Boulengerella lateristriga in particular being easily confused. Unlike the other members of the genus, these two species have their dorsal fins at about the same level along the body as the anal fin; by contrast the dorsal fins on the other members of the genus are much further forward than the anal fin.

Boulengerella maculata is marked with numerous dark spots on the body about the size of the pupil, and an irregular pattern of dark spots on the tail fin. Boulengerella lateristriga is similar, but has a prominent dark band running along the midline of the body from nose to tail, and the tail fin is marked with distinctive, approximately horizontal, dark stripes.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Boulengerella are schooling predators that live in rivers, usually close to the surface and often near sources of shade, such as logs and overhanging vegetation. In the aquarium they need a big tank with a good but not turbulent water current and excellent water quality. They are nervous fish, and best kept in groups and away from more aggressive tankmates. Bottom-dwelling species, such as the more gentle loricariids, make the best companions.

Maintenance in the aquarium is tricky. They have a distinct preference for live foods of all types, including insects, river shrimps, earthworms and of course small fish. In the wild, juveniles feed on insect larvae while adults feed primarily on small fish. They can be acclimated to frozen foods after a time.

Family Group: Characins
Distribution South America: Rivers Amazon, Orinoco, and Tocantins
Temperature 24-26 C
Size Around 30 cm
Water Parameters Soft, acid water preferred, but adaptable
Water PH 6.0-7.5