by K. Gempei
Haya is a generic name for Phoxinus, a fish with elongated medium-sized body among cyprinid freshwater fish from Japan. Main fish are Aburahaya (Amur Minnow) , Ugui (Japanese dace), Oikawa (Pale chub), Kawamutu (Dark chub), takahaya( Upstream fat minnow), and numamutu (a subspecies of Kawamutu).
Description & Taxonomy
Takahaya grow to a length of about 10 cm and have elongated spindle-shaped form. Their body color is dark brown and dim gold small dots are scattered on their side of the body. Scales are small and their skin has strong slime.
Takahaya belong to a subspecies of Chinese minnow indigenous to Japan. There is a fish very similar to Takahaya. It’s an Aburahaya. The point of distinction with Takahaya and Aburahaya are that takahaya’s tail height is higher and form is stockier than Aburahaya. In addition, Takahaya’s body color is more yellowish than Aburahaya. Furthermore, Takahaya’s scale is bigger and width of head is wider than Aburahaya. However, having large individual and locality differences, these features are not perfect in that distinction.
Range & Ecology
Takahaya live in upstream areas of rivers in west Japan. They gather at a deep pools and stagnant pools gentle stream. They tend to prefer cool water. If it is a small river that has a steep slope and there are no other fish, they will be able to live in an estuary. They live in not only a main course of a river but also a pond or an irrigation canal flowing in clear water.
They are omnivorous and eat insects, plants seed and stuck algae. They live in more downstream area than yamame (Seema) and amago(Red spotted masu trout) and upstream area than kawamutu(Dark chub) as segregation of other freshwater fish. In addition, they live in more upstream than Aburahaya in Honshu.
They spawn from spring to early summer and in this term, male snout change like spatula. When they spawn, a number of them gather at muddy sand or gravel bottom in upstream and spawn stirring up bottom sediment. Fish called haya is eaten by carnivorous fish like catfish or black bass.
Use & Conservation
They don’t sell as an edible fish. Their taste is so-so.
Takahaya have been designated an endangered species by the prefecture. In Tokyo takahaya has been designated the most dangerous state (※vary by region and season). But this is not enough to worry about extinction.
They are famous as Gedo in mountain stream fishing. (Gedo is a fishing term. Gedo is a fish other than the favorite targeted fish. Often used when someone had a fish take the bait. ) So even beginner can catch easily, they are good fish to enjoy fishing.
They living in throughout west Japan, we can see anywhere. If you go to Gifu Freshwater Aquarium World・Aqua Toto Gifu, you can see not only haya but also relation with other fish. Aqua Toto is one of the largest freshwater aquariums in the world. There are also amphibians and reptiles live in near water, so even someone who be not interested in fish enjoy there. In kochi you can see haya at Shimantogawa gakuyuukann.