The Kuhli Loach can be divided into two distinct subspecies on the basis of its coloration and markings: Pangio kuhlii kuhlii and P. kuhlii sumatranus (Sumatra Kuhli). The latter subspecies usually has fewer than 1 5 black circular bands along the length of its body, while P. kuhlii kuhlii has narrower, redder bands, and the black areas do not totally encircle the body. Kuhli Loaches have defensive spines close to the eyes. If threatened, they can raise the spines, which will easily become stuck in a net or in the mouth of a would-be predator.
Often confused with catfish, loaches belong to the family Cobitidae and occur in both tropical and temperate regions. All loaches have barbels around the mouth and, even though it is not always obvious, a spine below each eye. When a loach feels threatened, it will raise its spines, making itself more difficult for a predator to swallow.