Chitala chitala  (Hamilton, 1822)

Clown knifefish
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Chitala chitala
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Osteoglossiformes (Bony tongues) > Notopteridae (Featherbacks or knifefishes)
Etymology: Chitala: Bangladesh local name;  chitala: From rivers of Bengal & Behar.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; demersal; pH range: 6.0 - 8.0; dH range: 5 - 19.   Tropical; 24°C - 28°C (Ref. 2060)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 75.5  range ? - 91 cm
Max length : 122 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4832); common length : 75.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2686)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 9; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 117 - 127. The only species in which subadults and adults have a series of transverse gold or silver bars on the dorsum, but this color feature is not always present (Ref. 7431). Differs from C. ornata in never having ocellated spots and from C. blanci and C. lopis in never having a black spot on the pectoral fin base (Ref. 7431).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Asia: Indus, Ganges-Brahmaputra and Mahanadi river basins in India. No valid records from Irrawaddy, Salween or other river basins of Myanmar. Reports of Chitala chitala from Thailand and Indo-China were based on Chitala ornata and those from Malaysia and Indonesia on Chitala lopis.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Adults inhabit freshwater rivers, lakes, beels, nullahs in the plains (Ref. 41236), reservoirs, canals and ponds (Ref. 1479). Feed on aquatic insects, mollusks, shrimps and small fishes (Ref. 1479). Females lay eggs usually on stake or stump of wood, males fan them with tail, keep them aerated and silt-free, guard them against small catfish and other predators; complete give-away to fishermen; females not observed at egg posts; moderately important food fish (Ref. 2686). Spawn once a year during May to August (Ref. 6459).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

The male tends the clutch (Ref. 2060).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Roberts, T.R., 1992. Systematic revision of the old world freshwater fish family Notopteridae. Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwat. 2(4):361-383. (Ref. 7431)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
FAO(Publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5166   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.7   ±0.59 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High vulnerability (58 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.