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  • Monopterus�albus (Photo: Leo G. Nico, USGS, Gainesville, FL)
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Common name
white ricefield eel (English), swamp eel (English), rice eel (English)
Synonym
Fluta alba , (Bloch and Schneider, 1801)
Similar species
Summary
Although its impacts are unknown, Monopterus albus' predaceous and generalised feeding habit poses a potential threat to native fish, frogs and aquatic invertebrates. In Florida and Georgia, introduction is likely due to an aquarium release or a fish farm escape or release. It is believed that Monopterus albus was originally brought to Hawaii by Asian immigrants as a food fish.
Species Description
Aguirre and Poss (1999) state that the body of M. albus is more or less cylindrical; the tail is compressed, tapering to a slender point much shorter than the trunk. Scales are absent. The snout is bluntly rounded, and the jaws and palate have rows of viliform teeth. The upper lip is thick overlapping part of the lower lip. The eye is small, covered by a layer of skin. Body colour is slate brown above and white to light-brown below with small, dark spots on its sides and occasionally on the ventral surface. M. albus may grow to a metre in length, but most grow to between 25cm and 40cm.
Uses
According to Bricking (2002), in Asia,M. albus are considered a food fish, and a delicacy. They are also found in markets as food in the United States, as well as in pet supply stores, although they are not as well known.
Habitat Description
Bricking (2002) states that M. albus lives in muddy ponds, swamps, canals, and rice fields, where it burrows in moist earth in the dry season, surviving for long periods without water.
Reproduction
According to Aguirre and Poss (1999), M. albus eggs are laid into a bubble nest in shallow water. The nest is typically not attached to vegetation but floats freely at the surface. One or both parents guard the eggs and young.
Nutrition
Bricking (2002) states that M. albus are nocturnal generalized predators (carnivores) that devour fishes, worms, crustaceans, and other small aquatic animals.
Pathway
M. albus was originally brought to Hawaii by Asian immigrants as a food fish, and purposely released into the wild (Bricking, 2002).

Principal source: Asian Swamp Eel (Bricking, 2002)

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review: Anon

Publication date: 2005-06-26

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Monopterus albus. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=446 on 28-07-2016.

General Impacts
According to Bricking (2002), the impacts of M. albus are uncertain, however, they are likely to affect the population size of their prey, as well as the availability of food sources for larger fish, turtles, frogs and wading birds. M. albus consumes crayfish, tadpoles, small fish, and worms. They can eat some larger prey as well, by grabbing them with their mouths, and spinning until they are torn in half. M. albus may also play a role in altering the habitat beneath ponds and marshy regions where they burrow nests to wait out dry seasons. Declines in native centrarchids from some areas of the United States have been attributed to this species (Nico, 1999).
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Monopterus albus
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • africa
  • australia
  • brunei darussalam
  • cambodia
  • central america
  • china
  • hong kong
  • india
  • indonesia
  • japan
  • lao people's democratic republic
  • malaysia
  • myanmar
  • philippines
  • singapore
  • south america
  • taiwan
  • thailand
  • viet nam
Informations on Monopterus albus has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
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Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Monopterus albus in information
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Species notes for this location
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Impact
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Impact information
According to Bricking (2002), the impacts of M. albus are uncertain, however, they are likely to affect the population size of their prey, as well as the availability of food sources for larger fish, turtles, frogs and wading birds. M. albus consumes crayfish, tadpoles, small fish, and worms. They can eat some larger prey as well, by grabbing them with their mouths, and spinning until they are torn in half. M. albus may also play a role in altering the habitat beneath ponds and marshy regions where they burrow nests to wait out dry seasons. Declines in native centrarchids from some areas of the United States have been attributed to this species (Nico, 1999).
Red List assessed species 0:
Management information
Bibliography
10 references found for Monopterus albus

Managment information
Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)., 2008. Decision support tools-Identifying potentially invasive non-native marine and freshwater species: fish, invertebrates, amphibians.
Summary: The electronic tool kits made available on the Cefas page for free download are Crown Copyright (2007-2008). As such, these are freeware and may be freely distributed provided this notice is retained. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made and users should satisfy themselves as to the applicability of the results in any given circumstance. Toolkits available include 1) FISK- Freshwater Fish Invasiveness Scoring Kit (English and Spanish language version); 2) MFISK- Marine Fish Invasiveness Scoring Kit; 3) MI-ISK- Marine invertebrate Invasiveness Scoring Kit; 4) FI-ISK- Freshwater Invertebrate Invasiveness Scoring Kit and AmphISK- Amphibian Invasiveness Scoring Kit. These tool kits were developed by Cefas, with new VisualBasic and computational programming by Lorenzo Vilizzi, David Cooper, Andy South and Gordon H. Copp, based on VisualBasic code in the original Weed Risk Assessment (WRA) tool kit of P.C. Pheloung, P.A. Williams & S.R. Halloy (1999).
The decision support tools are available from: http://cefas.defra.gov.uk/our-science/ecosystems-and-biodiversity/non-native-species/decision-support-tools.aspx [Accessed 13 October 2011]
The guidance document is available from http://www.cefas.co.uk/media/118009/fisk_guide_v2.pdf [Accessed 13 January 2009].
Collins T.M., Trexler J., Nico L., and T. A. Rawlings. 2002. Genetic diversity in a morphologically conservative invasive taxon: Multiple introductions of swamp eels to the southeastern United States. Conservation Biology 16: 1024-1035.
Copp, G.H., Garthwaite, R. and Gozlan, R.E., 2005. Risk identification and assessment of non-native freshwater fishes: concepts and perspectives on protocols for the UK. Sci. Ser. Tech Rep., Cefas Lowestoft, 129: 32pp.
Summary: The discussion paper presents a conceptual risk assessment approach for freshwater fish species that addresses the first two elements (hazard identification, hazard assessment) of the UK environmental risk strategy The paper presents a few worked examples of assessments on species to facilitate discussion.
Available from: http://www.cefas.co.uk/publications/techrep/tech129.pdf [Accessed 1 September 2005]
Mendoza, R.E.; Cudmore, B.; Orr, R.; Balderas, S.C.; Courtenay, W.R.; Osorio, P.K.; Mandrak, N.; Torres, P.A.; Damian, M.A.; Gallardo, C.E.; Sanguines, A.G.; Greene, G.; Lee, D.; Orbe-Mendoza, A.; Martinez, C.R.; and Arana, O.S. 2009. Trinational Risk Assessment Guidelines for Aquatic Alien Invasive Species. Commission for Environmental Cooperation. 393, rue St-Jacques Ouest, Bureau 200, Montr�al (Qu�bec), Canada. ISBN 978-2-923358-48-1.
Summary: In 1993, Canada, Mexico and the United States signed the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) as a side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAAEC established the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to help the Parties ensure that improved economic efficiency occurred simultaneously with trinational environmental cooperation. The NAAEC highlighted biodiversity as a key area for trinational cooperation. In 2001, the CEC adopted a resolution (Council Resolution 01-03), which created the Biodiversity Conservation Working Group (BCWG), a working group of high-level policy makers from Canada, Mexico and the United States. In 2003, the BCWG produced the �Strategic Plan for North American Cooperation in the Conservation of Biodiversity.� This strategy identified responding to threats, such as invasive species, as a priority action area. In 2004, the BCWG, recognizing the importance of prevention in addressing invasive species, agreed to work together to develop the draft CEC Risk Assessment Guidelines for Aquatic Alien Invasive Species (hereafter referred to as the Guidelines). These Guidelines will serve as a tool to North American resource managers who are evaluating whether or not to introduce a non-native species into a new ecosystem. Through this collaborative process, the BCWG has begun to implement its strategy as well as address an important trade and environment issue. With increased trade comes an increase in the potential for economic growth as well as biological invasion, by working to minimize the potential adverse impacts from trade, the CEC Parties are working to maximize the gains from trade while minimizing the environmental costs.
Available from: English version: http://www.cec.org/Storage/62/5516_07-64-CEC%20invasives%20risk%20guidelines-full-report_en.pdf [Accessed 15 June 2010]
French version: http://www.cec.org/Storage/62/5517_07-64-CEC%20invasives%20risk%20guidelines-full-report_fr.pdf [Accessed 15 June 2010]
Spanish version: http://www.cec.org/Storage/62/5518_07-64-CEC%20invasives%20risk%20guidelines-full-report_es.pdf [Accessed 15 June 2010].
General information
Aguirre, W., Poss, S. 1999. M. albus. Non Indigenous Aquatic Species Resource.
Summary: A report on all aspects of M. albus, including biology, ecology and distribution.
Available from: http://nis.gsmfc.org/nis_factsheet.php?toc_id=193 [Accessed 29 July 2003].
Bricking, E. 2002. Asian Swamp Eel.Columbia University.
Summary: A report that describes all aspects of the ecology, biology and distribution of M. albus.
Available from: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/cerc/danoff-burg/invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/Monopterus_albus.html [Accessed 29 July 2003].
FishBase, 2005. Species profile Monopterus albus Swamp eel
Summary: FishBase is a global information system with all you ever wanted to know about fishes . FishBase on the web contains practically all fish species known to science. FishBase was developed at the WorldFish Center in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and many other partners, and with support from the European Commission (EC). Since 2001 FishBase is supported by a consortium of seven research institutions. You can search on Search FishBase
This species profile is available from: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/speciessummary.cfm?id=4663 [Accessed 21 March, 2005]
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2005. Online Database Monopterus albus
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.cbif.gc.ca/pls/itisca/taxastep?king=every&p_action=containing&taxa=Monopterus+albus&p_format=&p_ifx=plglt&p_lang= [Accessed March 2005]
Nico, L., 2001. Monopterus albus Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL.
Summary: Available from: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?speciesID=974 [Accessed 21 March 2005]
Contact
The following 0 contacts offer information an advice on Monopterus albus