Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Gonorynchiformes
(Milkfish) > Chanidae
Etymology: Chanos: Greek, chanos, -eos, ous, and chasma, -atos = abyss, mouth opened, inmensity (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; amphidromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 1 - 30 m (Ref. 6898). Tropical; 15°C - 43°C (Ref. 43081); 46°N - 52°S, 19°E - 77°W
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 91.8, range 68 - 70 cm
Max length : 180 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9710); 124.0 cm SL (female); common length : 100.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9814); max. published weight: 14.0 kg (Ref. 9814); max. reported age: 15 years (Ref. 9814)
soft rays: 8 - 10;
Vertebrae: 46. Diagnosis: body elongate and somewhat compressed; mouth small and toothless; branchiostegal rays 4; one dorsal fin; pectoral fins falcate; body olive green; flanks silvery; fins dark bordered (Ref. 55763). Superficially resembles bonefishes but by evolution more advanced by having 4 branchiostegal rays (Ref. 1602). Jaws toothless (Ref. 12693).
Indo-Pacific: along continental shelves and around islands, where temperatures are greater than 20°C. Red Sea and South Africa to Hawaii and the Marquesas, north to Japan, south to Victoria, Australia. Eastern Pacific: San Pedro, California to the Galapagos.
Found in offshore marine waters and shallow coastal embayments, but also frequently enter estuaries and occasionally penetrate freshwater streams (Ref. 44894). A marine species which enters estuaries and rivers (Ref. 52331). Adults occur in small to large schools near the coasts or around islands where reefs are well developed. Eggs and larvae are pelagic up to 2-3 weeks. Older larvae migrate onshore and settle in coastal wetlands (mangroves, estuaries) during the juvenile stage, or occasionally enter freshwater lakes. Juveniles and sub-adults return to sea where they mature sexually. Spawn only in fully saline water. Larvae eat zooplankton; juveniles and adults eat cyanobacteria, soft algae, small benthic invertebrates, and even pelagic fish eggs and larvae. Larvae are collected from rivers and are grown in culture ponds into juveniles, which are marketed fresh, smoked, canned or frozen. Brood stocks can be raised and spawned in captivity to produce larvae in the hatchery (Ref. 12868). Can thrive and grow in water as hot as 32° C (Ref. 9987).
Bagarinao, T., 1994. Systematics, distribution, genetics and life history of milkfish, Chanos chanos. Environ. Biol. Fish. 39(1):23-41.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; bait: usually
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01230 (0.00931 - 0.01626), b=3.02 (2.94 - 3.10), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.0 ±0.1 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tm=4-8; tmax=15; Fec=200,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (76 of 100) .