Category: Fishes | Resource

Lesser Spiny eel: Macrognathus aculeatus

Spiny eel: Macrognathus aculeatus

Spiny eel: Macrognathus aculeatus



Ophidium aculeatum: loch, 1787.

Rhynchodella aculeata: Day, 1878; Day, 1889; Shaw and Shebbeare, 1937.

Macrognathus aculeatus: Smith, 1945; Munro, 1955;  Sterba, 1962; Bhuiyan, 1964.


Common name: Spiny eel (English name).

Bangla name: Tara baim.


Taxonomic position:

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Osteichthyes

Order: Perciformes

Family: Mastacembelidae

Genus: Macrognathus

Species: M. aculeatus


Morphological description:

Body elongated and compressed laterally. Dorsal and anal fin is long but not confluent with caudal fin. Caudal fin is small and rounded. Lateral line is present. Scales are small and cycloid. Eyes are small, snout with a tri-lobed extremity. Dorsal spines commence far behind pectoral. Head scales larger than those on body. Pelvic fins are absent. Colour on above is Greenish or brownish gray and yellowish beneath. A series of 3-7 large black ocelli having white edge is present along base of dorsal. The morphological description is quite similar to Rahman (2005), Bhuiyan (1964).


Fin formula:

D. XXVI-XX/44-50, P1. 22-24, A. III/46-50.

D. 16-20/44-54, P1. 23, A. 2-3/44-52 (Shafi and Quddus, 1982).

D. XVII-XX/45-50, P1. 23-24, A. III/46-50 (Rahman, 2005)


Habit and habitat:

The habitat of this fish is the muddy streams. It is also available in brackish water within tidal influence. This is abundantly found in canals, beels, ponds and flooded weedy fields o paddy and jute fields in rainy season (Bhuiyan, 1964).


Breeding time:

Breeds during monsoon season (Bhuiyan, 1964).


Marketing status:

Market price of this fish varies between 130-160 Tk/kg


Economic importance:

Bhuiyan (1964) described that this fish is highly esteemed as food. This fish has high market value.


Ecological role:

Its food may include 48% algae, 11% scales and 41% mud and sands stated by Mookerjee,  et. al.(1946).




Bhuiyan, A.L. 1964. Fishes of Dacca. Asiatic Soc. Pakistan, Publ. No. 13, Dacca. pp. 118-119.

Bloch, M.E. and Schneider. J.G. 1787. Systema Ichthyologica. Syst. Ichth. ARCO Publishing Co. New York. 5: p. 60.

Day, F. 1878. Fishes of India. William Dowson and sons., London. p. 338.

Day, F. 1889. Fishes. Fauna. Brit. India. William Dowson and sons., London. 1-2: p. 240.

Mookerjee, H.K.; Sengupta, S.N. and Roy Chowdhury, D.N. 1946. Food and its percentage composition of the common adult food fishes of Bengal.  Sci. and cult. Calcutta. 12(7): p. 247-299.

Munro, I.S. 1955.  Marine and Freshwater Fishes of Ceylon. Dept. External Affairs, Canbarra Publications. p. 267.

Rahman, A.K.A. 2005. Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh. The Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka. pp. 261-262.

Shaw, G.E. and Shebbeare, E.O. 1937. Fishes of Northern Bengal. J. Royal Asiat. Soc. Bengal Science. p. 127.

Smith, H.M. 1946. Freshwater Fishes of Siam or Thailand. U.S. Nat. Hist. Mus. Bull. Narendra Pub. India A Falcon. p. 61.

Sterba, G. 1962. Freshwater Fishes of the World. Books, Cosmo Publications, New Delhi. p. 834.

Talwar, P.K. and Jhingran, A.G. 2001. Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent countries. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi. 2: p. 1007.

Shafi, M. and Quddus, M.M.A. 1982. Bangladesher Matshaw Sampad (in Bengali). Bangla academy, Dhaka. pp. 319-320.

Visited 2,768 times, 1 visits today | Have any fisheries relevant question?

Visitors' Opinions


Ex-student, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh. More...

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.