Channa gachua

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Channa gachua
Channa gachua TH203 - W004.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Anabantiformes
Family: Channidae
Genus: Channa
C. gachua
Binomial name
Channa gachua
(F. Hamilton, 1822)
Channa gachua distribution.gif
Range map

Channa gachua, the dwarf snakehead, is a species of fish in the family Channidae, the snakeheads. It is native to Asia, where it has a wide distribution from Afghanistan to the Middle East to Indonesia. This fish is considered to be a species complex, a group of several closely related taxa with one name. It is likely at least 3 to 4 different species, and further research may differentiate them.[1] The newer species Channa harcourtbutleri was separated from the complex in 1999.[2]


C. gachua with babies

This species can reach 28 centimeters in length, but most individuals are much smaller, just a few centimeters long.[3] It feeds on small fish, insects, and crustaceans. It is a mouthbrooder, with the male brooding the eggs and juveniles in his mouth.[3] Males have more-extended dorsal and anal fins than females, and develop more intense color pattern.[4]


The species was recorded from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.[5] This is a common fish found in most any type of wetland.[1] It can live in large rivers or small brooks and creeks, in fast currents or stagnant waters, and in altered waterways such as canals.[3] It lives in rice paddies.[6]


This fish is caught for food in many parts of Asia.[1] This is one of several Channa known as dwarf snakeheads, smaller species kept in aquaria. It is also valued for its attractive coloration.[7] This species has been studied for use in aquaculture operations.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Chaudhry, S. 2010. Channa gachua. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010. Downloaded on 04 October 2017.
  2. ^ Ng, H. H., P. K. Ng, and R. Britz. (1999). Channa harcourtbutleri (Annandale, 1918): a valid species of snakehead (Perciformes: Channidae) from Myanmar. Journal of South Asian Natural History 4(1): 57-63.
  3. ^ a b c Froese, R. and D. Pauly, Eds. Channa gachua. FishBase. 2017.
  4. ^ "Channa gachua – Dwarf Snakehead (Channa limbata, Ophicephalus gachua)". Seriously Fish. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  5. ^ "Least Snakehead - Channa gachua - Details - Encyclopedia of Life". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  6. ^ Silva, K. (1991). Population ecology of the paddy field‐dwelling fish Channa gachua (Günther) (Perciformes, Channidae) in Sri Lanka. Journal of fish biology, 38(4), 497-508.
  7. ^ a b Milton, J., et al. (2017). Ovarian development and histological observations of threatened dwarf snakehead fish, Channa gachua (Hamilton, 1822). Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences. In Press.

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