Gulf Saratoga, Scleropages jardinii

The gulf saratoga, Scleropages jardinii, is regarded as a freshwater bony fish that inhabitates Australia. These fish are found in Northern Australia and New Guinea living in fast-moving water and still water. The gulf saratoga is not endangered or threatened.

The gulf saratoga has several names such as Australian bonytongue, northern saratoga, toga and barramundi and its scientific name S. jardinii. The fish has also been known as the Australian arowanas and the saratoga (S. leichardti).

This fish has a pearly appearance. Its long, dark-shaded body has seven rows of large scales. Outlining the scales of the fish is a number of reddish or pinkish spots that take the shape of a crescent around each scale. The pectoral fins are large and wing-like. The gulf saratoga is similar in appearance to the Asian arowana, S. formosus, apart from duller pigment and a smaller scale size. The gulf saratoga grows to be about an average length of 35 inches. The maximum weight of the fish is 38 pounds; however there has been one report in which the fish was recorded to weight as much as 59 pounds. The depth of the adult bodies is roughly 25-28% of the Standard Length, which makes this fish more powerful then its cousin S. leichardti.

Like most arowanas the gulf saratoga is a mouthbrooder. Reports show that the female, and not the male, broods the offspring in her mouth.

Although the Australian arowanas and the Asian arowanas resemble each other and are sometime sold as golden arowanas in some Asian countries such as India, they are easily identifiable because of the Australian arowanas 7-8 rows of scales and their spotted fins.

Image Caption: Saratoga in New York Aquarium. Credit: Viktor Kravtchenko/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)