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Squarehead catfish, Chaca chaca (Hamilton, 1822)

Squarehead catfish, Chaca chaca

Squarehead catfish, Chaca chaca

Systematic position
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii  (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (catfish)
Family: Chacidae (Squarehead or angler catfish)
Genus: Chaca
Species: C. chaca

Common/local names

Squarehead catfish (FishBase)

Indian chaka (English)

Chaka (চাকা), Cheka (চেকা), Chaga (চেগা), Beng-sabbh (বেংসাব), Gangania (গ্যানগেনিয়া) (Bangladesh) (Bhuiyan, 1964; Rahman, 1989; Galib, 2008).

Chega, Gajeb-baken, Chaga, Chaca, Pema, Pauawa, Chakawa, Gageb, mechi, Coor-curriah(India).( Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Chaca buchanani
(Günther, 1864)
Platystacus chaca
(Hamilton, 1822)
Chaca lophioides
(Valenciennes, 1832),

Distribution: Bangladesh, Nepal and India (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Conservation status: Endangered in Bangladesh (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000). Very rare in Chalan Beel of Bangladesh (Galib, 2008).

Morphology: Body elongated, Tadpole shaped, with a very wide sub-terminal mouth and almost reduced subcutaneous eyes. Head dorso-ventrally compressed. The upper surface covered with tubercles and with many low and elongated spines. 3 pairs of barbels. 2 dorsal fins, 1st dorsal fin contains serrated spine. Two rayed anal fins present. 2­nd dorsal and 2­nd anal confluent with caudal and caudal rounded. Lateral line present and curved downwards. Body colored blackish or deep brownish.

Head 25.8% SL and 22.9% TL. Height 17.7% SL and 15.7% TL. Eye 7.5% HL.(Galib, 2008)

Fin formula

D 5 (1/4); P1. 6 (1/5); P2. 6 (Rahman, 1989)

D II 4; A i 8-10; P I 5; V i 5 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991)

Maximum lengths: Maximum length reported 20.5 cm (Day, 1878), 18 cm (Bhuiyan, 1964), 18.6 cm (Rahman, 2005), 20 cm (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991) and 17.5 cm (Galib, 2008).

Habits and habitats: Found in muddy water and very difficult to catch. Commonly found in rivers, haors, beels, canals, ponds ctc.  in Bangladesh (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000). Recorded in Chalan Beel (Bangladesh) (Galib et al., 2009).

Breeding: Breeding time recorded unknown in Chalan Beel of Bangladesh (Galib, 2008).

Marketing status: Absent in local fish markets of Bangladesh (Galib, 2008). No interest to fisheries and not eaten for its ugly appearance (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).



Bhuiyan AL. 1964. Fishes of Dacca, Asiat. Soc. Pakistan, Pub. 1, No. 13, Dacca, p. 85.

Day F. 1878. Fishes of India: being a Natural History of the Fishes Known to Inhabit the Sea and Freshwater of India, Ceylon and Burma, Atlas in 4th part, London, XX+778 pp.

Galib SM, Samad MA, Mohsin ABM, Flowra FA and Alam MT. 2009. Present Status of Fishes in the Chalan Beel- the Largest Beel (Wetland) of Bangladesh, Int. J. Ani. Fish. Sci. 2(3): 214-218.

Galib SM. 2008.  A Study on Fish Diversity and Fishing Gears of Chalan Beel with Reference to Preservation of Catches, Honors dissertation submitted to the Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh, 172 pp.

Günther, A., 1864. Catalogue of the fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the Physostomi, containing the families Siluridae, Characinidae, Haplochitonidae, Sternoptychidae, Scopelidae, Stomiatidae in the collection of the British Museum. Cat. Fishes i-xxii + 1-455.

Hamilton F.   1822. An account of the fishes found in the river Ganges and its branches. Edinburgh & London. An account of the fishes found in the river Ganges and its branches.: i-vii + 1-405, Pls. 1-39. [Often seen as Hamilton-Buchanan or Buchanan-Hamilton; in work as Hamilton [formerly Buchanan].

IUCN Bangladesh. 2000. Red book of threatened fishes of Bangladesh, IUCN- The world conservation union. xii+116 pp.

Rahman AKA. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 1st edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 174-175.

Talwar PK and Jhingran AG. 1991. Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries, Vol. II, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi-Calcutta, p. 693.

Valenciennes A and Cuvier G. 1832. Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome huitième. Livre euvième. Des Scombéroïdes. Hist. Nat. Poiss. i-xix + 5 pp. + 1-509.

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Student, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected] More...

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