Channa striata

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Channa striata
Channa striata after Bleeker 1879.jpg
Channa striata, after Bleeker, 1879
Gabus 070909 0074 rwg.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Anabantiformes
Family: Channidae
Genus: Channa
C. striata
Binomial name
Channa striata
(Bloch, 1793)
Channa striata distribution.gif
Distribution of Channa striata.[2]

Madagascar reports are misidentifications of C. maculata[3][4]

  • Ophicephalus striatus Bloch, 1793
  • Channa stiata (Bloch, 1793)
  • Ophiocephalus wrahl Lacépède, 1801
  • Ophiocephalus chena Hamilton, 1822
  • Ophicephalus planiceps Cuvier, 1831
  • Ophiocephalus vagus Peters, 1868
  • Ophiocephalus philippinus Peters, 1868

Channa striata, the striped snakehead, is a species of snakehead fish. It is also known as the common snakehead, chevron snakehead, or snakehead murrel and generally referred simply as mudfish. It is native to South and Southeast Asia, and has been introduced to some Pacific Islands. Reports from Madagascar and Hawaii are misidentifications of C. maculata.[3][4]

A genetic study published in 2017 indicates that C. striata is a species complex.[6]


It grows up to a meter in length, though because of fishing, this size is rarely found in the wild. It has a widespread range covering southern China, Pakistan, most of India, southern Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and most of Southeast Asia. It has more recently been introduced to the outermost parts of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Mauritius. Reports beginning in the early 20th century that it was introduced into the wild in Hawaii, particularly the island of Oahu, as well as later reports from Madagascar, are the result of misidentifications of C. maculata.[3][4] The only currently confirmed Hawaiian establishment of C. striata is on a commercial fish farm. Popular media and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service were perpetuating this apparent mistake as recently as 2002.[7][8] Early- to mid-20th century reports and texts referring to its introduction in California appear to be the result of a misunderstanding.[9]

It is an important food fish in its entire native range, and is of considerable economic importance. Adults are dark brown in colour with faint black bands visible across its entire body. Males and females both help to construct a nest out of water vegetation during breeding time. Eggs are guarded by both parents. Fry are reddish orange and are guarded by both parents until they turn greenish brown at around 5–6 cm.

It is common in freshwater plains, where it migrates from rivers and lakes into flooded fields, returning to the permanent water bodies in the dry season, where it survives by burrowing in the mud.

It preys on frogs, water bugs, and smaller fish, and it will attack anything moving when breeding.


Common snakeheads are known as ngayan (ငါးရံ့) in Burmese; Nga-mu porom in Meitei, xól/xol (শ’ল/শল) in Assamese, Garai (गरई) in North Indian Languages, shol (শোল) in Bengali,"sol" (سول) in Urdu, Pakistan, Sheula (ଶେଉଳ) in Odia, varaal (വരാല്)) in Kerala, India; viral/mural/selumural/nedumural (in Tamil: விரால்,முறால்,செலுமுரல்,நெடுமுரல்) in Tamil Nadu, India; Koramenu/Korra matta(Telugu: కొర్ర మేను/కొర్ర మట్ట), India; Madenji(Tulu: ಮಡೆಂಜಿ) in Tulu Nadu, India; and Loola ලූලා in Sri Lanka; trey ross (Khmer: ត្រីរ៉ស់), pla chon (Thai: ปลาช่อน) in Thailand;[10] gabus in Indonesia; haruan in Malaysia;[11] dalak in Brunei and haloan, aruan, haruan, halwan, bulig, dalag, turagsoy or "mudfish" in the Philippines.


Snakehead fish packed with lemon grass and lime leaves ready for steaming

A curry made with this fish and tapioca is a delicacy in Kerala. In Indonesia, common snakeheads are a popular type of salted fishes in Indonesian cuisine. In the Philippines, they are commonly served either fried, grilled, paksiw (poached in a water-vinegar mix), or with soup (commonly cooked with rice washing).

Dishes using this fish eaten with rice is very popular among Bengalis of Bangladesh and West Bengal.

Common snakeheads are very popular in Thai cuisine, where they are prepared in a variety of ways. Grilled fish is a common food item offered by street vendors or in kaeng som. Pla ra, a fermented fish sauce popular in northeastern Thai cuisine, is made by pickling common snakehead and keeping it for some time. Also, a Chinese sausage is prepared with common snakehead flesh in Thailand.[12]

Immune system[edit]

Channa striata Thomas.jpg

Worldwide inland fish culture industry is suffering from massive economic losses due to epizootic ulcerative syndrome (EUS) and fish-based pathogens. The available literature indicate that infection from fish pathogens like bacteria (Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas sobria), fungi (Aphanomyces invadans) and viruses can cause stunted growth and severe mortality in the C. striatus. Channa striatus rely on their innate immune components to fight against these infections. Some of the immune molecules that have been characterized in Channa striatus includes Chemokine, Chemokine receptors, Thioredoxin, Superoxide dismutase, Serine Protease, Cathepsin,[13] Lectin.

In culture[edit]

The Bathini Goud Brothers in Hyderabad, India, promote the swallowing of live murrel fish and herbs as an asthma treatment, although the high court ruled they cannot call it "medicine". They give it free to children on Mrigasira Nakshatra. No evidence indicates it is clinically effective, and children's rights campaigners have called for it to be banned.[14][15]

Folklore among Chinese in South China and Southeast Asia has it that eating haruan fish helps in postsurgical wound healing.[16]


The snakehead Murrell is very much known for its delicacy in Tamilnadu and Kerala in India.


  1. ^ Chaudhry, S. (2010). "Channa striata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2010: e.T166563A6237224. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T166563A6237224.en.
  2. ^ Courtenay Jr.; Walter R. & James D. Williams. "Snakeheads (Pisces, Channidae): A biological synopsis and risk assessment". U.S. Geological Survey.
  3. ^ a b c USGS, Southeast Ecological Science Center: Channa striata. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Walter R. Courtenay, Jr., James D. Williams, Ralf Britz, Mike N. Yamamoto, and Paul V. Loiselle. Bishop Occasional Papers, 2004. [1] Archived 2007-07-08 at the Wayback Machine Identity of Introduced Snakeheads (Pisces, Channidae) in Hawaii and Madagascar, with Comments on Ecological Concerns.
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2019). "Channa striata" in FishBase. August 2019 version.
  6. ^ Conte-Grand, C., Britz, R., Dahanukar, N., Raghavan, R., Pethi-yagoda, R., Tan, H.H., Hadiaty, R.K., Yaakob, N.S. & Rüber, L. (2017). Barcoding snakeheads (Teleostei, Channidae) re-visited: Discovering greater species diversity and resolving perpetuated taxonomic confusions. PLoS ONE, 12 (9): e0184017.
  7. ^ Akana-Gooch, Keiko Kiele. Hawaii snakehead lacks ferocity of mainland kin: A kinder, gentler fish, it poses no local threat to the environment. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 2002-07-28. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
  8. ^ Federal Register: July 26, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 144) Archived February 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Federal Register Online. 2002-07-26. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
  9. ^ Dill, William A., and Almo J. Cordone. Chevron snakehead, Channa striata (Bloch) History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
  10. ^ Fishing in Thailand Archived 2009-06-29 at the Wayback Machine (in Thai)
  11. ^ Chua, Eddie. "The lure of the haruan". The Star Online. Archived from the original on 13 April 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Recipes
  13. ^ Venkatesh K, Prasanth B, Rajesh P, Annie JG, Mukesh P, Jesu A (2014). "A murrel cysteine protease, cathepsin L: bioinformatics characterization, gene expression and proteolytic activity". Biologia. 39 (3): 395–406. doi:10.2478/s11756-013-0326-8.
  14. ^ "Indians flock for asthma 'cure'". BBC News. 9 June 2003. Retrieved 5 June 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "SHRC moved against 'fish medicine'". The Times of India. 1 June 2011. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ [2]

External links[edit]