Phallostethus cuulong Facts
- Firstly, the astonishing Phallostethus cuulong represents a truly unusual kind of species. It also remains extremely rarely seen. As a result, among other things, few photos of the bizarre animal exist.
- The amazing creature qualifies as a variety of freshwater fish first discovered in 2009. Also, it represents one of only twenty-two species classified as priapium fish.
- Also, it, along with the other twenty-one members of its Family, differ from other fish in one very special way. While other fish species reproduce externally, these actually reproduce internally.
- Finally, virtually no information exists pertaining to its numbers. Therefore, the IUCN does not, as yet, have a listing for the species. However, it does appear in the Catalogue of Life.
Phallostethus cuulong Physical Description
First of all, the amazing Phallostethus cuulong remains a physically quite diminutive variety of fish. That’s because all examined specimens of the rare animal average only 1 in (2.5 cm) in total length.
Furthermore, surprisingly, the tiny body also develops as almost completely translucent in appearance. Given its habitat, the evolutionary reason for this continues to elude researchers.
However, the most notable feature of the animal pertains to matters of reproduction. That holds true due to the bizarre location of the male genitalia. For some unknown reason, Nature placed these under its chin.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Atheriniformes
- Family: Phallostethidae
- Genus: Phallostethus
- Species: P. cuulong
Phallostethus cuulong Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Most notably, the bizarrely evolved Phallostethus cuulong appears to only inhabit an extremely restricted range. That’s because its only known population lives in the Mekong Delta, in Vietnam, in Asia.
Further, the discovery of this fish occurred specifically in the tidal canals of the delta. There, it also inhabits only the very shallow regions. Individuals live at depths ranging from 1.6 – 11.5 ft (0.5 – 3.5 m).
All known species of priapium fish inhabit regions of Southeast Asia. Each of these differ from other fish by the unique locations of their genitalia. However, the location of its reproductive organs isn’t the only unique part of the process for this species.
Among other externally reproducing fish species, copulation is almost instantaneous. But, in its case, the process takes longer due to the nature of the male’s reproductive organ. The penis includes a rod with a barbed hook. It just grabs onto the female during mating and does not let go.