Chitala chitala

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Chitala chitala
Chitala chitala Thomas.jpg
Scientific classification
C. chitala
Binomial name
Chitala chitala

Chitala chitala (Bengali: চিতল, Assamese: চিতল "sitawl", Tamil: அம்பட்டன்வாளை, சொட்டைவாளை or அம்புட்டன் வாழ) is a knifefish from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan,[1] where found in the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and Mahanadi River basins.[2] It is sometimes known as the Indian featherback/knifefish.[3] In the past it frequently included several related Chitala species, but these are now regarded as separate species.[2][4] The main species confused with this species is C. ornata (clown featherback or clown knifefish); a Southeast Asian species seen regularly in the aquarium trade.[3] The true C. chitala is very rare in the aquarium trade.[3]


Chitala chitala in Assam, India. Notice the stripes to the back and the dark spots on the lower rear part of the body (both relatively indistinct)

Chitala chitala reaches a maximum length of 122 cm (48 in), but more commonly reaches about 75 cm (30 in).[2] It is overall silvery in color. Unlike all its relatives, it usually (but not always) has a series of golden or silvery bars along the back, resulting in a faint striped appearance.[3][4] Additionally, it has a series of fairly small, sometimes indistinct, non-ocellated dark spots towards the far rear of the body (at the "tail"). This separates it from C. ornata, which has ocellated spots (dark spots surrounded by a paler ring) and lacks bars along the back. The two species have frequently been confused.[2][3][4]

In religion[edit]

This species is based on Hinduism beliefs. It is one of the avatars of Lord Narayana (Vishnu), in the first episode titled "Matsya" that Narayana was born as a golden knifefish to kill the demon.[5]


  1. ^ a b S. Chaudhry (2010). "Chitala chitala". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2010: e.T166510A6225101. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T166510A6225101.en. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Chitala chitala" in FishBase. May 2014 version.
  3. ^ a b c d e Seriously Fish: Chitala chitala. Retrieved 24 May 2014
  4. ^ a b c Roberts, T.R. (1992). Systematic revision of the old world freshwater fish family Notopteridae. Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwat. 2(4):361-383.
  5. ^ "นารายณ์อวตาร ตอนที่ 1 "มัตสยาวตาร"". huexonline (in Thai).

External links[edit]