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Mrigal/Mrigel: Cirrhinus cirrhosus (Bloch, 1795)

Mrigal/Mrigel: Cirrhinus cirrhosus

Mrigal/Mrigel: Cirrhinus cirrhosus

Systematic position:

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Cypriniformes (Carps)
Family: Cyprinidae (carp and minnows)
Genus: Cirrhinus

Synonyms: Cyprinus chaudhryi (Srivastava, 1968), Cyprinus cirrhosus (Bloch, 1795), Cirrhinus mrigala (Hamilton, 1822), Cirrhina blochii (Valenciennes, 1842), Cirrhina mrigala (Day, 1878), Mrigala buchanani (Bleeker, 1860)

Common names: Mirka, Mrigel (Bangladesh); Mrigal (Fishbase); Indian Major carp, Mrigal, Mirrgah, Mrigala, Mirkali, Nain, Nainee, Mirki, Mori, Arju, Yerramosa, Ballalamosa, Mrigalam, Mirya, Morahkee, Nagari (India).

Distribution: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and some other countries of Asia.

Conservation status: Non threatened.

Morphology: The body is elongated and streamlined or laterally compressed. Dorsal profile more convex than that of abdomen. Ventral profile slightly convex. Grayish or greenish color on the back and silvery at the sides and below. Fins are slightly orange colored in larger specimen. Lateral line present and complete with about 40-45 scales.

Head 21.4% of standard length (SL) and 17.1% of total length (TL). Height 28.6% of SL and 22.9% of TL. Diameter of eye 16.7% of head length (HL).

Fin formula: D. 16; P1. 17; P2. 9; A. 8

Maximum length and weight: 90 cm (Day, 1878), 17 cm (Bhuiyan, 1964), 79.2 cm (Hussain, 1999), 84.0 cm (Rahman, 1989), 99 cm (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Highest length measured 45 cm from Chalan beel (Bangladesh) in 2007.

Rahman (1989) recorded 8.84 kg fish from Chandpur (Bangladesh). Talwar and Jhingran (1991) recorded 12.7 kg fish from India.

Habitat and niche: Found in freshwater bodies, rarely in brackish water; some common habitats are- ponds, ditch, canals, beels, floodplains, haors, baors (oxbow lakes), rivers, lake etc. Niche is bottom layer of water body. According to Talwar and Jhingran (1991), a temperature of 140C appears to be the minimum tolerated by this fish.

Food and feeding: Bottom dweller fish species and primarily detritus eater. Feed on both natural and supplementary feeds. Talwar and Jhingran (1991) described this species as bottom feeder and subsisting mainly on decayed vegetation. Well habituated in taking rice bran, wheat bran, mustard oil cake and other supplementary feed under aquaculture system.

Breeding: According to Bhuiyan (1964) this species breeds in shallow water in the rainy season. Breeds in open natural waters. This fish breeds during south-west monsoon in shallow pockets in marginal areas and in bundhs, water depth at breeding ground is 0.5-1.0 m (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Artificially propagation by hypophysation successfully practiced in hatcheries by using PG (Pituitary Gland) hormone. A large number of intergeneric hybrids of this fish have been produced by the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (Barrackpore, India), such as Catla-Mrigal, Rohu-Mrigal, Mrigal-Calbasu (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Economics importance: Used as aquaculture species. Used as food fish. Often used as game fish in Bangladesh but widely used in other countries. Always marketed in fresh condition. This species command a good market price and consumer demand.

Harvesting and marketing: Harvesting usually done by using rod and line. Large scale harvesting is done with seine nets from aquaculture ponds or other water bodies. It may also be caught by dip net (Bhuiyan, 1964).

In Bangladesh, total production (in the year 2007-2008) of this fish was 5,171 kg from Beels of Bangladesh; 80 kg from Kaptai Lake and 14.10% of total pond production (FRSS, 2009).


Bhuiyan, A.L., 1964. Fishes of Dacca, Asiat. Soc. Pakistan, Pub. 1, No. 13, Dacca, pp. 28-29.

FRSS (Fisheries Resources Survey System), 2009. Fishery Statistical Yearbook of Bangladesh 2003-2004, 21st ed., Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Bangladesh, 42 p.

Hamilton, F., 1822. An account of the fishes found in the river Ganges and its branches, Edinburgh & London, pp. 1-405.

Hussain, M.M., 1999. Fishes and Fisheries of the River Atrai in Rajshahi with Reference to its Limnology, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Department of Zoology, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh, pp. 5-200.

Rahman, A.K.A., 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 1st edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 123.

Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran, 1991. Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries, Vol. I, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi-Calcutta, pp. 172-173.

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Shams works on freshwater ecosystems, primarily fish diversity in terms of their availability, and richness; also aquatic invasive species and their impact on ecosystem. Email: More...

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