Category: Non-fishes | Resource

Commercially Important Shellfishes of Bangladesh

Giant River Prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii)

Giant River Prawn

What is Shellfish?

Generally shellfish are aquatic invertebrates possess a shell or outer skeleton applied to a variety of marine and freshwater life. They are usually crustaceans and mollusks. Despite the name, shellfish are not a kind of fish, but are simply animals that live in water. They are mainly filter feeder and forage mainly phytoplankton and zooplankton.


Major Groups of Shellfish:

  1. Crustaceans: Shrimp, Prawn, Lobster and Crab
  2. Mollusks: Polyplacophora, Gastropoda, Bivalve and Cephalopods


Commercially Available Shellfish of Bangladesh:

Giant Tiger Shrimp

Giant Tiger Shrimp

1. Crustaceans:

1.1 Shrimp and Prawn

According to Ahmed (1990), a total of 56 species of shrimp and prawn are available in Bangladesh in both freshwater and marine water environment. Among which 4 species of shrimp and prawn are commercially exported to different countries of the World and 10 species are commercially exploited. Here a list of commonly harvested shrimp and prawn is given below:

Table 1: List of commonly harvested shrimp and prawn in Bangladesh

Group Bengali name English name Scientific name
Prawn Golda chingri Giant River Prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii*
Chatka chingri Monsoon River Prawn Macrobrachium malcolmsonii
Shrimp Bagda chingri Giant tiger Shrimp Penaeus monodon*
Baghtara chingri Green tiger Shrimp Penaeus semisulcatus
Baghtara chingri Kuruma Shrimp Penaeus japonicus
Chaga chingri White Shrimp Penaeus indicus*
Bagha chama Blue-tail Shrimp Penaeus merguiensis
Horney chingri Speckled Shrimp Metapenaeus monoceros*
Honni/Nona chingri Yellow Shrimp Metapenaeus brevicornis
Ghora chingri Kadal Shrimp Metapenaeus dobsoni
Gura chingri Roshma Shrimp Palaemon styliferus
Ruda chingri Rainbow Shrimp Parapenaeopsis sculptilis

* indicates commercially exportable species


1.2 Lobsters:

Ahmed (1990) reported a total of 3 species of lobsters are found with commercial importance in marine environment of Bangladesh-

Table 2: List of commercially important Lobsters species in Bangladesh

Group Bengali name English name Scientific name
Spiny Lobsters Chhoa Icha Mud Spiny Lobster Panulirus polyphagus
Chhoa Icha Ornate Spiny Lobster Panulirus ornatus
Nilcontok Lobster Painted Spiny Lobster Panulirus versicolor


1.3 Crabs:

According to Siddiqui and Zafar (2002), a total of 16 species of crabs are available in Bangladesh in both freshwater (4) and marine water (12) environment. Among which 3 species are exported commercially to different countries of the World. Here a list of economically important crab species is given below:

Table 3: List of economically important crab species in Bangladesh (Siddiqui and Zafar, 2002)

Family Bengali name English name Scientific name
Portunidae Shila Kankra Giant Mud Crab Scylla serrata*
Sataru Kankra Swimming Crab Portunus pelagicus*
Tin Fota Kankra Three-spot Swimming Crab Portunus sanguinolentus*
Grapsidae Gasho Kankra Paddler Crab Metopograpsus thukuhar
Gasho Kankra Paddler Crab Metopograpsus messor
Parasesarma plicatum
Kankra Violet Vinegar Crab Episesarma versicolor
Potamoniade Kata Kankra Freshwater Crab Potamon woodmasoni
Chimta Kankra Spiny Crab Potamon martensi
Pati Kankra Sartotina Crab Paratelphusa lamellifrons
Ocypodidae Holdepa Kankra Fiddler Crab Uca urvillei
Kankra Ghost Crab Uca annulipes
Lal Kankra Horned-eyed Ghost Crab Ocypode ceratophthalmus
Paguridae Anapagurus laevis
Leucosiidae Ebalia cranchii

* indicates commercially exportable species


2. Mollusks:

Among the shellfishes, molluscs belonging to 210 genera of gastropods, bivalves, clams, mussels, oysters and cephalopods have been recorded from Bangladesh (Siddiqui et al., 2007). The diversified molluscan fauna of Bangladesh, inhabiting the land, freshwater and saltwater, mainly includes chitons, ischnochitons (Class Polyplacophora), limpets, slugs, snails, conches (Class Gastropoda), oysters, mussels, clams, scallops (Class Bivalvia), nautilus, cuttlefish, squids amd octopuses (Class Cephalopoda).


2.1 Gastropods:

According to Siddiqui et al. (2007), so far 318 gastropods (20 land, 16 freshwater and 282 marine) have been recorded from the Bangladesh territory. Such as, Rachis, Semperula, Pila, Cypraea, Melo, Oliva etc. Hossain (2001) reported that, some important gastropods (Conus striatus, C. textile and C. geographes) are abundant coastal region, and two economically important gastropods (Trochus niloticus and Turbo marmoratus) that are heavily depleted worldwide are also present in coastal areas of Bangladesh. Trochus radiates and Trochus maculates are also found in Bangladesh.


2.2 Bivalves:

According to Siddiqui et al. (2007), so far 6 freshwater and 142 marine bivalves have been recorded from Bangladesh waters. Examples: Crassostrea, Pinctada, Lamellidens, Placuna, Mytilus etc.

Oysters: These are sedentary organisms that grow attached to rocks, gravel, tree roots or any hard object in the intertidal zone. Most species of oysters can tolerate low salinities and are therefore found in brackish waters in estuaries and marshes. Hossain (2001) stated seven species of edible oysters are found in the coastal areas of the country. According to DoF (1999), eight species of genus Pinctada and one species under Placuna belongs to pearl oyster are available in Bangladesh. Among them, Pinctada fucata is the best species for pearl production through induced technique.

Table 4: List of economically important oysters in Bangladesh (Hossain, 2001 and DoF, 1999)

Group Family Bengali name English name Scientific name
Edible Oyster Ostreidae Kostura Coral Rock Oyster Saccostrea cucullata*
Kostura Cupped Oyster Crassostrea belcheri*
Kosturi Oyster Crassostrea madrasensis *
Pearl Oyster Pteriidae Kostura Rayed Pearl Oyster Pinctada fucata*
Kostura Blacklip Pearl Oyster Pinctada margaritifera*
Kostura Pearl Oyster Pinctada anomioides
Kostura Pearl Oyster Pinctada atropurpurea
Kostura Pearl Oyster Pinctada maxima*
Kostura Rayed Pearl Oyster Pinctada martensis
Placunidae Shada Chilon Windowpane Oyster Placuna placenta*

* indicates commercially important species


Mussels: A number of mussels are found in both freshwater and saline water environments of them four species are economically important. These are listed below-

Table 5: List of economically important mussels in Bangladesh (Hossain, 2001 and DoF, 1999)

Family Bengali name English name Scientific name
Unionidae Jhinuk Freshwater Mussel Lamellidens marginalis
Jhinuk Freshwater Mussel Lamellidens jenkinsianus
Mytilidae Kala Chilon Green Mussel Perna viridis
Badami Jhinuk Brown Mussel Perna indicus


Clams: Few numbers of clams are found in coastal region of Bangladesh. Among them two species i.e., Meretix meretrix and Anadra sp. are found abundantly in the muddy coast of nearly all estuarine areas.

Table 6: List of important clams in Bangladesh

Family Bengali name English name Scientific name
Veneridae Chilon Asiatic Hard Clam Meretrix meretrix
Arcidae Daitta Chilon Ark Shaell Anadara granosa
Daitta Chilon Antique Ark Anadara antiquata
Chilon Ark Scapharca sp.
Kan Chilon Decussate Ark Barbatia foliata


2.5 Cephalopods: According to Hena (2006), three groups of cephalopods are found in coastal areas of Bangladesh belongs to a number of species of them three species are commercially important-

Table 6: List of economically important mussels in Bangladesh (Hossain, 2001 and DoF, 1999)

Group Bengali name English name Scientific name
Cuttlefish Lagra Cuttlefish Sepia aculeata*
Firki Pharaoh cuttlefish Sepia formosana
Squid Nuilla Squid Loligo edulis*
Nuilla Squid Loligo indica
Octopus Octopus Grey Octopus Octopus rugosus*
Octopus White-spotted Octopus Octopus macropus

* indicates commercially important species



Turtles: Turtles are not molluscs or arthropods and they are reptiles. Three species of turtles viz., Caretta caretta, Chelonia sp. and Dermochelys sp. at commercial importance have been identified from Bangladesh territory.



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  • Ahmed. 1990. Studies on the identification and abundance of Molluscan fauna of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council.
  • Azam, K., Kamal, D. and Mostafa, M. 1998. Status and potential of mud crab in Bangladesh. In: Proceedings of the National Seminar on Integrated Management of Ganges Flood Plains and Sundarbans Ecosystem. Khulna University, Khulna, Bangladesh. 16-18 July, 1994. pp. 150-160.
  • DoF. 1999. Matshaw Sampad Unnayan O Karmasangsthan (Matshaw Saptaho Sankalan), Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Dhaka. 36 p.
  • DoF. 2012. Jatiyo Matshaw Saptaho Sankalan, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Dhaka. 128 p.
  • Ghosh, S. K. 2004 . Potentiality for the development of domestic and export market for mollusc (green mussel Perna viridis, clam Meretrix meretrix and oyster Crasostrea spp) in coastal Bangladesh. Report of a SUFER-DFID funded project.
  • Hena, M. K. A. 2006. Composition of cephalopods in the Moheskhali channel, Cox’s Bazar, Research Report, Chittagong University, Bangladesh.
  • Hossain, M. S. 2001. Biological aspects of the coastal and marine environment of Bangladesh”, J. Ocean Coast. Manage., 44: 261-282.
  • Patterson, J. and Sainuel, V.D. 2005. Participatory approach of fisher women in crab fattening for alternate income generation in Tuticorin, southeast coast of India. Asian Fisheries Science. 18: 153-159.
  • Siddiqui, K. U., Islam, M. A., Kabir, S. M. H., Ahmad, M., Ahmed, A. T. A., Rahman, A. K. A., Haque, E. U., Ahmed, Z. U., Begum, Z. N. T., Hassan, M. A., Khondker, M. and Rahman, M. M. (eds.). 2007. Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh, Vol. 17. Molluscs. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 415 p.
  • Siddiqui, M. Z. H. and Zafar, M. 2002. Crabs in the Chakaria Sundarban area of Bangladesh. J. Nat. Ocean Marit. Inst., 19: 61-77.
  • Zafar, M. 2004. Culture of mud crab Scylla serrata in the coastal area of Bangladesh. DFID-UGC super Project Report, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh. pp. 6-16.

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