Category: Fishes | Resource | Threatened fishes

Goonch, Bagarius bagarius (Hamilton, 1822)

Goonch: Bagarius bagarius

Goonch: Bagarius bagarius

Systematic position
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfishes)
Superfamily: Sisoroidea
Family: Sisoridae (Bagariidae; Sisorid catfishes)
Subfamily: Sisorinae
Genus: Bagarius
Species: B. bagarius

Bagarius buchanani Bleeker, 1854
Bagarius yarrelli (Misspelled name, must not be used)
Pachypterus luridus Swainson, 1839
Pimelodus bagarius Hamilton, 1822
Pimelodus carnaticus Jerdon, 1849

Common/local names
English: Goonch, Dwarf goonch and Gangetic goonch
Bangladesh: Bagair (বাঘাইর)
India: Baghari, Vaghair and Baghaar (West Bengal); Baghar (Bihar); Goreah, Baagmach and Garua (Assam) (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Distributions: Bangladesh; and India (Ganga river and its tributaries), Chao Phrya and Mekong basins (Laos); and possibly also the Pattani river of Malay Peninsula (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Conservation status: Critically Endangered in Bangladesh due to loss of habitats (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Morphology: Body elongate with depressed head. Head 5.6-7.2 times in SL (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Mouth inferior/ventral and crescentic. Dorsal inserted nearer to the adipose base than snout tip. Four pairs of barbels. Abdominal vertebrae 17-20 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Caudal deeply forked, upper lobe produced into a long filamen (Rahman, 1989 and 2005). Skins on sides and above rough.

Body color greenish or olivaceous to rich tan or brown (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Dark pigmented bands on body; first one from the near dorsal base to pelvic, the second one from adipose base to anal fin and the last one at caudal peduncle. Caudal yellowish gray. Pelvic and pectoral fins with black spots (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Anal with a broad black-colored band.

Fin formula:
D. I/6; P1. I/13; P2. 6; A. 11-13; C. 16 (Rahman, 1989 and 2005; IUCN Bangladesh, 2000)
D I 7; A iii 9-12; P I 9-12; V i 5 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991)
D1. I/6; D2. 0; P. I/12; V. 6; A. 3/10-12; C. 17 (Shafi and Quddus, 2001)

Maximum lengths and weight: 39 cm (Rahman, 1989 and 2005; IUCN Bangladesh, 2000), 19 cm SL (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991) and 215 kg (Shafi and Quddus, 2001).

Habitats: Inhibits rapids and rocky pools (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Available throughout Bangladesh but not abundant anywhere (Rahman, 1989 and 2005). Recorded from Surma river (Sylhet), Kangsha river and old Brahmaputra river (Mymensingh), Tital river (Comilla), Karnafuli reservoir (Chittagong Hill Tracts) (Rahman, 1989 and 2005); Chalan Beel (Galib et al., 2009).

Food and feeding: Entomophagous species (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Voracious and predatory; feeds primarily on small fishes (Rahman, 1989 and 2005). Also takes frogs and crustaceans (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Spawning: Breeds before the commencement of the monsoon rains (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Fishery info: Used as food fish in Bangladesh. But due to sluggish habit, the flesh is not much relished as food (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Larger specimen are rare (Rahman, 1989 and 2005).



Bleeker P (1854) Nieuwe tientallen diagnostische beschrijvingen van nieuwe of weinig bekende vischsoorten van Sumatra. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 5: 495-534.

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.

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.

Jerdon TC (1849) On the fresh-water fishes of southern India. (Continued from p. 149.). Madras Journal of Literature and Science 15(2):302-346.

Rahman AKA (1989) Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 1st edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 222-224.

Rahman AKA (2005) Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 2nd edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 245-247.

Shafi M and Quddus MMA (2001) Bangladesher Matsho Shampad (Fisheries of Bangladesh) (in Bengali), Kabir publication. Dhaka, Bangladesh. pp. 218-219.

Swainson W (1839) The natural history and classification of fishes, amphibians, & reptiles, or monocardian animals. Spottiswoode & Co., London. Nat. Hist. & Class. i-vi + 1-448.

Talwar PK and Jhingran AG (1991) Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries, Vol. 2, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi-Calcutta, pp. 622-623.


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