Fun Mudfish Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Mudfish Facts For Kids

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One of the species found only in New Zealand, the Canterbury mudfish also known as Neochanna burrowsius scientifically belongs to the family of Neochanna fishes. W J Phillips is regarded as the first person to describe the species as Canterbury mudfish. An interesting fact about the mudfish is that, unlike most species of fish, the Canterbury mudfish lacks scales. The species are carnivores and generally prey on Aquatic insects, smaller fishes, and mollusks.

The Canterbury mudfish is quite smaller in size and the average weight of the fish varies from 0.008-0.022 lb (4-10 g) and can get 4.7-5.9 in (120-150 mm) long. One major characteristic that makes the species unique is the ability to survive without water. If their habitat dries out, they generally survive during the summer season. The mudfish are primarily found in willow bogs, wetlands, farm ponds, and drains.

As these species are rare, the population of the fishes is declining and major organizations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature have listed the species in the Critically Endangered category and also the conservation department of New Zealand have mentioned the Canterbury mudfish in the risk category. Keep on reading to learn more interesting facts about the Canterbury mudfish. If you want to know more exciting information about different animals, check out the swai fish and lungfish

Fun Mudfish Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Aquatic insects, smaller fishes, mollusks

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

500-10,000 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.008-0.022 lb (4-10 g)

How long are they?

4.7-5.9 in (120-150 mm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Light brown, gray-brown

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans, Habitat Modification

What is their conservation status?

Critically Endangered

Where you'll find them?

Wetlands, Farm Ponds, Drains, Willow Bogs


New Zealand









Mudfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Mudfish?

A Canterbury mudfish is a carnivore fish generally found in the Christchurch region of New Zealand. The fish is also known as Kowaro among the local population.

What class of animal does a Mudfish belong to?

A Canterbury mudfish, also known as Neochanna burrowsius, belongs to the class of Actinopterygii, Galaxiidae family, and Neochanna genus.

How many Mudfish are there in the world?

There are several species of mudfish existing in the world and the exact population of the species is not known. The numbers of mudfish in Africa, Southeast Asia are pretty good but the population of rare Canterbury mudfish is quite low. Also, the IUCN described the status of the species as Critically Endangered.

Where does a Mudfish live?

The Canterbury mudfish is primarily found in the Christchurch region of New Zealand while the Channa micropeltes, also known as one of the world's largest mudfish are mainly found in Southeastern Asia.

What is a Mudfish's habitat?

A mudfish habitat includes wetlands, farm ponds, drains, and willow bogs. Also, they can easily be found on the surface of the ground when the water dries up.

Who do Mudfish live with?

A mudfish can either live alone or in a group but research states that these fishes primarily live in clusters.  

How long does a Mudfish live?

The average mudfish lifespan is five to six years. A recent study also suggests that these fishes can live for more than 80 days on the surface of the ground without being in contact with fresh water.

How do they reproduce?

Unlike other species of fish, the Canterbury mudfish adults spawn in the winter season but there are a few conditions for them to spawn such as proper water quality of deluged vegetation, and dense aquatic vegetation near the water surface so that they can lay eggs. Adulthood is generally attained in the first year, males usually spawn more than once a year while females spawn only once a year and lay around 500-10,000 eggs. The eggs are hatched after two or three weeks.

What is their conservation status?

The mudfish is quite rare and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the species in the Critically Endangered category also the conservation department of New Zealand has mentioned the Canterbury mudfish in the risk category.

Mudfish Fun Facts

What do Mudfish look like?

They are quite different from other species as they have no scales and have slippery skin. Their fins are also fleshy. The size of a mudfish is very small. They are generally brown and look quite slippery or slimy. It is tubular.

Underwater view of a snakehead mudfish.

How cute are they?

The size of a mudfish is very small which makes the fish more attractive. Also, characteristics such as its scaleless body, fleshy fins, and ability to survive without water in a dry environment allure people.

How do they communicate?

Generally, these fish communicate through their touch and sense of smell.

How big is a Mudfish?

The average weight of a mudfish is 0.008-0.022 lb (4-10 g) and it is 4.7-5.9 in (120-150 mm) long. These fishes are double the size of a major South American tropical freshwater fish, Aspidoras lakoi.

How fast can a Mudfish swim?

The exact mudfish speed is not known at the moment but a recent study reveals that the fish can move at a speed of 0.3 mph (0.5 kph) when the water flow is slightly high.

How much does a Mudfish weigh?

The average weight of a mudfish is 0.008-0.022 lb (4-10 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the male and female species of Canterbury mudfish.

What would you call a baby Mudfish?

No particular name has been given to describe the mudfish babies.

What do they eat?

By looking at the size, no one can even imagine that the mudfish is a carnivore. A common mudfish diet includes smaller aquatic insects, smaller fishes, and mollusks.

Are they dangerous?

The answer could be either yes or no depending on the species of mudfish. The species found in New Zealand, Canterbury mudfish, are generally small and are not dangerous but do resemble small eels. But the species found in the rest of the world such as African and Southeastern mudfish could be dangerous. Also, mudfish teeth can cause harm to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

The Canterbury mudfish is a rare species and the numbers are also declining year by year and thus require special care but this species can be a good pet as they are small in size and can easily survive in a small pond. Also, the fish do not harm humans.

Did you know...

When the eggs of mudfish are hatched, the young fishes are diurnal and are active in the daytime while the adults are nocturnal and are active in the dusk.

The Mudfish is edible but people do not prefer mudfish over other fishes as they do not taste good. Their flavor tastes like dirt and people often complain about the bones of the fish.

Generally, these fishes come out of wetlands to the surface of the earth during the summer season. During the dry climate, it becomes harder for fish to survive without water for a single minute but during the dry season the metabolism falls, and mudfishes absorb oxygen with the help of their skin.

Is Mudfish the same as Catfish?

There are several features that both the species share such as scaleless skin and similar coloration but there are various factors by which we can differentiate both species. The major difference between the two is the ability to survive without water, a mudfish can survive for more than 80 days outside of their usual habitat. Also, the mudfish species found in Africa and Southeastern Asia have sharper teeth than the catfish and the former is referred to as amazing predators. Also, the heads of catfishes are flat whereas the heads of mudfishes are round.

Different kinds of Mudfish

There are numerous types of mudfish found throughout the world. These include bowfin found in North America, lungfish in South America, Orange river mudfish, Parachanna, striped snakefish of the Philippines, Channa micropeltes of Southeast Asia, and the Canterbury mudfish of New Zealand. Out of these, the Channa micropeltes are regarded as the giant mudfishes and the Canterbury mudfish is one rarest species of mudfish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including king salmon, or Kokanee salmon.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our mudfish coloring pages.

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