Category: Fishes | Resource | Threatened fishes

Barca snakehead, Channa barca (Hamilton, 1822)

Systematic position
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perches)
Family: Channidae (Snakeheads)
Genus: Channa
Species: C. barca

Synonyms
Ophicephalus nigricans Cuvier, 1831
Ophiocephalus barca Hamilton, 1822

Common/local name
English: Barca snakehead
Bangladesh: Pipla (পিপলা), Pipla shol (পিপলা শোল), Tila shol (তিলা শোল) and Tila (তিলা)

Distributions: Bangladesh, India (West Bengal and Assam) and some parts of Pakistan (Bhuiyan, 1964).

Conservation status: Critically endangered in Bangladesh due to habitat loss (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000). Rare at present (Rahman, 1989 and 2005).

Morphology: Body elongate and rounded. Eye diameter 7-7.5 times in head length (Bhuiyan, 1964; Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Pelvic fin length about 40% of pectoral fin (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Caudal rounded. 60-65 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991; IUCN Bangladesh, 2000); 65-70 (Rahman, 1989 and 2005) scales on lateral line. Lateral line passes for 21-23 scales, then descends for one scale and again passes straight to the middle of caudal base (Rahman, 1989 and 2005).

Body color dark violet on back and fading to dull white below. Large black blotches on back and flank; also on dorsal, anal and caudal fins. Edges of fins are red, pectoral reddish with numerous black spots.

Fin formula:
D. 47-52; P. 16; V. 1/5; A. 34-36; C. 19 (Bhuiyan, 1964)
D. 50-51; P1. 15; P2. 6; A. 34-35 (Rahman, 1989 and 2005; IUCN Bangladesh, 2000)
D 47-52; A 34-36; P 16; V 6 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991)

Maximum lengths: 18 cm (Bhuiyan, 1964), 40 cm (Rahman, 1989 and 2005) and 90 cm (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991; IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Habitats: Inhibits large rivers (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Lives in the hole of the banks (Bhuiyan, 1964; Rahman, 1989 and 2005). Found in beels and haors of greater Sylhet and Mymensingh districts (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000). Common in Brahmaputra river in Assam (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Recorded from Dekhar haor of Sunamganj district (Rahman, 1989 and 2005).

Food and feeding: Carnivorous; enters inundated mustard fields to feed on its flowers (Rahman, 1989 and 2005; IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Fishery info: Excellent food fish (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991), delicious to taste (Bhuiyan, 1964). Good sport on rod and line (Bhuiyan, 1964). Of minor fishery interest in Assam (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

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REFERENCES

Bhuiyan AL (1964) Fishes of Dacca, Asiat. Soc. Pakistan, Pub. 1, No. 13, Dacca, pp. 96-97.

Cuvier G and Valenciennes A (1831) Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome septième. Livre septième. Des Squamipennes. Livre huitième. Des poissons à pharyngiens labyrinthiformes. Histoire naturelle des poissons. 7: i-xxix + 1-531, Pls. 170-208.

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.

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. 67-68.

Rahman AKA (2005) Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 2nd edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 82-83.

Talwar PK and Jhingran AG (1991) Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries, Vol. 2, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi-Calcutta, p. 1016.

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Author

Lecturer, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Ex-student, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi. Email: thegalib@gmail.com. More...

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