Studies show Sarawak terubuk changes gender as it matures


KUCHING: Scientific studies show that the male of the Terubuk or big-mouthed shad, also known as Tenualosa toli, can evolve into a female when it reaches maturity, said Sarawak Agriculture Department director Datuk Lai Kui Fong.

He said the fish had been registered as geographical indication (GI) by the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO).

The GI certificate for the big-mouthed Tenualosa toli was presented to the Sarawak Information Technology and Resources Council on May 12 this year.

This endemic species, as revealed by scientific studies, is protandous hermaphrodite, which means the male can evolve into a female when it reaches maturity, said Lai.

He said the delicious and sweet-tasting fish could only be found in the coastal waters of Sarawak, stretching from Sematan to Lawas.

“The breeding grounds are at the estuary of Batang Lupar, Sri Aman, and Batang Lassa, Mukah, with two breeding seasons per year,” he said.

He said the big-mouthed shad could easily be distinguished from other species such as the sea water tenualosa macrura which is small-mouthed, has smooth scales, an elongated body and a long tail.

According to Lai, besides the big-mouthed Sarawak tenualosa toli, the Bario rice, Bilis Sarawak rice, Sarawak Bajong rice, Sarawak sour eggplant, ‘dabai’ Sarawak, Isau Sarawak (green longan) and Sarawak Nyekak durian also obtained the GI certificate.

In addition, three more Sarawak products, namely the ‘midin’ vegetable and two varieties of local traditional rice, are awaiting the GI certification from MyIPO, he said. -Bernama