Scissortail rasbora

Common Name: Scissortail rasbora

Scientific Name: Rasbora trilineata

This medium-sized freshwater fish belongs to the family of cyprinids which includes minnows, carp, and even your goldfish, with individuals ranging from 12mm to 3m in size depending on species.

Also known as the three-lined rasbora, due to the striking banded coloration of yellow, black and white on its tail (caudal) fins. The scissortail rasbora is a slender fish, with an almost transparent body.

As their name suggests the tail of the scissortail is forked and moves with an open and close motion as it swims, mimicking the cutting action of a pair of scissors.

Fast Facts

  • Status

    Least concern

  • Size

    up to 15cm

  • Gestation

    18 to 48 hours

  • Young

    Egg scatterer

  • Life span


In the wild

According to stomach analyses of wild specimens, the scissortail rasbora feeds mainly on invertebrates both aquatic and terrestrial, particularly insects.

The scissortail rasbora originates from the southern Mekong River basin in Cambodia but is widespread across Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra. This medium-sized freshwater fish prefers open water but can survive in slow-flowing rivers and swaps in forested areas, where the water is contaminated by rotting leaf litter. They are also found in more rapidly flowing hillside streams as well as inland lakes and reservoirs.

Like most cyprinids, the scissortail rasbora is an egg-scatterer, spawning continuously in order to ensure the survival of some of the thousands of potential fry. Once laid, scissortails offer no parental care and do not guard eggs.

Scissortails have many predators as they are an abundant aquatic prey species, including being a food source for local people. However, it is thought that cormorants may be responsible for eating large amounts of scissortails in some areas.

Localised overfishing and habitat degradation are identified as threats to this species, but due to the extent of its range neither is likely to impact overall numbers significantly. Consequently, there are no current conservation actions in place for the scissortail.

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