Japanese rice fish

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For the manga and anime series, see Medaka Box.
Japanese rice fish
Oryzias latipes
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Beloniformes
Family: Adrianichthyidae
Subfamily: Oryziinae
Genus: Oryzias
Species: O. latipes
Binomial name
Oryzias latipes
Temminck & Schlegel 1846

The Japanese rice fish (Oryzias latipes), also known as the medaka and Japanese killifish,[1] is a member of genus Oryzias (ricefish), the only genus in the subfamily Oryziinae. This small (up to about 3.6 cm or 1.4 in) native of East Asia is a common denizen of rice paddies, marshes, ponds, slow-moving streams and tide pools.[2][3] It is euryhaline, occurring in both brackish and freshwater.[2] It became popular as an aquarium fish because of its hardiness and pleasant coloration: its coloration varies from brown or yellow-gold in the wild to white, creamy yellow, or orange in aquarium-bred individuals. The medaka has been a popular pet since the 17th century in Japan. The female carries her eggs attached between her anal fins.


Some populations formerly included in O. latipes have been split off as separate species. This limits the definite O. latipes to Japan and eastern Korea, while some populations of Eastern China and Laos may belong in this species or another, pending further study.[3] Populations elsewhere in mainland East Asia are the even smaller Chinese rice fish (O. sinensis).[3][4] Even within its Japanese range, three clusters of mtDNA are known from O. latipes: North Japan, south Japan and the Kanto region.[3]

Use in science[edit]

Oryzias latipes is a model organism and is extensively used in many areas of biological research, most notably in toxicology. Medaka have a short gestation period, and are reproductively prolific — characteristics that make them easy to rear in the laboratory. They can withstand cold and can be shipped easily. Nearly all aspects of the life cycle of medaka have been analyzed by researchers including sexual behavior, genetic inheritance of coloration, spawning habits, feeding, pathology, embryological development, ecology, etc.[5][6] It has relatively small genome (~800 mega base pairs, half the size of the genome of another popular model fish, the zebrafish) as well as a generation time of 7 weeks (rather than 9 weeks for zebrafish) and hardier growth in a broad temperature range (6–40 °C or 43–104 °F).[7][8]

Oryzias latipes(Hamamatsu,Shizuoka,Japan,2007)-2.jpg

Transgenic medaka are relatively easy to produce. They have been genetically modified to secrete various human hormones, express promoter sequences from other fish, and to make antimicrobial proteins and a protein that makes the medaka glow fluorescent green.[9] There are also many mutations that show up in medaka at random, for example, a mutant strain that lacks scales, and one with extra-long fins. Haploid embryonic stem cell lines have been established.[10]

In space[edit]

O. latipes carries the distinction of having been the first vertebrate to mate in orbit.[11] The result of the mating was a brood of healthy fry, hatched on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1994. O. latipes returned to space in 2012, launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft Soyuz TMA-06M and housed in an aquarium aboard the International Space Station.


  1. ^ หน้า 26-27, สกุล Oryzias ปลาข้าวสาร โดย สุริศา ซอมาดี. "Mini Atlas". นิตยสาร Aquarium Biz ปีที่ 5 ฉบับที่ 49: กรกฎาคม 2014 (Thai)
  2. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Oryzias latipes" in FishBase. April 2014 version.
  3. ^ a b c d Parenti, L.R. (2008). "A phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision of ricefishes, Oryzias and relatives (Beloniformes, Adrianichthyidae)". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 154: 494–610. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2008.00417.x. 
  4. ^ Parenti, L. (2012). "Oryzias sinensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1 (3.1). International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Leroi, Armand Marie. (2003). Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-03110-0. 
  6. ^ "Major topic "Oryzias": free full-text articles in National Library of Medicine". 
  7. ^ "Oryzias latipes, medaka as a model organism: taxonomy, facts, development stages, bibliography at GeoChemBio". 
  8. ^ "Medaka (Oryzias latipes) Genome Browser Gateway". 
  9. ^ Tanaka M, Kinoshita M, Kobayashi D, Nagahama Y (2001). "Establishment of medaka (Oryzias latipes) transgenic lines with the expression of green fluorescent protein fluorescence exclusively in germ cells: a useful model to monitor germ cells in a live vertebrate.". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 98 (5): 2544–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.041315498. PMC 30174Freely accessible. PMID 11226275. 
  10. ^ Yi, M., et al. Generation of medaka fish haploid embryonic stem cells. Science 326(5951), 430-33, 16 October 2009.
  11. ^ "Medaka aboard Columbia". 

External links[edit]