(F. Hamilton, 1822)
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. The newer species Channa harcourtbutleri was separated from the complex in 1999.
This species can reach 28 centimeters in length, but most individuals are much smaller, just a few centimeters long. It feeds on small fish, insects, and crustaceans. It is a mouthbrooder, with the male brooding the eggs and juveniles in his mouth. Males have more-extended dorsal and anal fins than females, and develop more intense color pattern.
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. This is a common fish found in most any type of wetland. It can live in large rivers or small brooks and creeks, in fast currents or stagnant waters, and in altered waterways such as canals. It lives in rice paddies.
This fish is caught for food in many parts of Asia. This is one of several Channa known as dwarf snakeheads, smaller species kept in aquaria. It is also valued for its attractive coloration. This species has been studied for use in aquaculture operations.
- Chaudhry, S. 2010. Channa gachua. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010. Downloaded on 04 October 2017.
- 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.
- Froese, R. and D. Pauly, Eds. Channa gachua. FishBase. 2017.
- "Channa gachua – Dwarf Snakehead (Channa limbata, Ophicephalus gachua)". Seriously Fish. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Least Snakehead - Channa gachua - Details - Encyclopedia of Life". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- 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.
- 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.
- Channa gachua. World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS).
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