This native fish can be found in freshwater ecosystems. Locally known as “Carpe”, it is elsewhere known as the Jungle perch or Rock flagtail. Flagtails – Kuhliidae – are a family of perciform fish in the Indo-Pacific. Kuhlia species can usually adapt to freshwater, brackish or saline environments although some species are restricted to marine or freshwater. These types of fish are distinguished by their scaly sheath around the dorsal and anal fins, have compressed silvery bodies with brown spots and usually do not grow more than 50 centimeters. Kuhlia rupestris has an olive-brown tail which has two distinctive black spots or blotches on the tail lobes.
Kuhlia rupestris usually resides in fresh and brackish waters and is found throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Although it may venture into marine environments, it is ordinarily considered a freshwater fish. The species is popular among anglers and provides a source of food. Mature individuals can be found in estuaries and upstream up to the middle reaches of rivers. They also prefer fast-flowing clear streams and rocky pools below waterfalls.
They feed on small fish, insects, crustaceans and even fruit that drop in the water. The size of Kuhlia rupestris is usually in the 20 to 25 centimeters range although it can grow up to 40 cm in length. Spawning usually occurs in saline or marine environments but the larvae and juveniles move back upstream in estuaries and rivers.
The species is classified as ‘Least Concern’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened species. No major threats are identified for this species and it tends to be locally abundant throughout its range. Although it is a source of food, fishing pressure remains limited. No specific conservation actions have been taken, although potential threats remain: habitat degradation and loss, and an increase in sedimentation.
Kuhlia species belong to the suborder of Percoidei, which includes snappers, jacks, groupers, basses, perches and porgies.