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Miyako Tanago

What's the Miyako Tanago?

Miyako tanago

The Miyako tanago (Metropolitan bitterling), native to the streams and ponds of Japan, belongs to the tanago suborder of the carp family. During the mating season, the stomach of the male takes on a bright red tinge. These fish used to thrive in rivers throughout Kanto area but due to the destruction of their environment, they have been rapidly disappearing.


Designated as a National Natural Monument
(as of June, 25, 1974)
Scientific name: Tanakia tanago (Tanaka, 1909)
Length: 3~5cm
Range: Kanto Plain
Environmental Agency designation: Scarce Domestic Animals & Plants species (1994)
Environmental Agency Red List Publication: Fear of Extinction Type 1A species (1999)

The Comeback of the miyako tanago

The miyako tanago (Japanese bitterling), officially recognized as a Nationally Protected Species and Natural Monument in 1974, is a fresh water fish native to Japan. These small fish used to thrive in rivers throughout Kanto area. However, due to the onslaught of urbanization, their environment has been destroyed and they are rapidly disappearing. Fortunately, in 1985, the presence of a few of these fish in many of the local irrigation ponds was confirmed.

In order to protect this precious fish, in cooperation with the Saitama Aquarium a project to raise these fish within the municipal office was initiated in 1993. The fish were raised in an aquarium located in the hall and placed on exhibit for the general public at the same time. Also, in the spring of 1994, efforts to breed these fish, employing artificial breeding methods, in their natural environments such as the irrigation ponds and streams flowing through town were carried out and led to the successful birth of 5 bitterlings. Up until this time, there had been no confirmation of successful artificial breeding other than from the specialists of the aquarium. Our success attracted quite a bit of attention and interest. From the following year, our efforts with regard to the challenges of artificial breeding continued and, in effect, led to the protection of a precious form of local life that had previously been on the verge of extinction. Our efforts to protect the Miyako tanago continue to this day.


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