Guntea loach: Lepidocephalichthys guntea
Guntea loach: Lepidocephalichthys guntea

Cobitis guntea Hamilton, 1822
Lepidocephalus guntea Day, 1878
Lepidocephalus guntea Shaw and Shebbeare, 1937
Lepidocephalus guntea Qureshi, 1965
Lepidocephalus guntea Menon, 1974

Common name: Guntea loach
Local name: Gutum, puiya

Taxonomy position:
Phylum- Chordata
Family- Cobitidae
Species-Lepidocephalichthys guntea

Fin formula:
D. 8 (2/6);   P1.8-9;   P2. 7-8;   A. 7 (2/5). (Rahman, 2005)
D ii-iii 6-7; A ii-iii 5; P i 6-7; V i 6-7 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991)

Description of the species:
The body of this fish is Elongated and slightly compressed anteriorly and strongly posteriorly. Dorsal and ventral profiles are nearly parallel. Caudal rounded, a light band extends from snout to caudal. A patch of scales extends from below eye to upper part of operculum. Dorsal fin inserted slightly behind pelvic fin origin. Generally lateral line absent. Colour variable. Generally the ground colour is dirty yellowish. Below and above band are a series of dark blotches. A black ocellus presents on the upper half of caudal base. Dorsal and caudal barred with spots. (Rahman, 2005; Rahman, 1989; Kibria, 2007; Talwar and Jhingran, 1991)

It attains a length of 15 cm by Talwar and Jhingran (1991). Largest specimen examined was 96 mm in total length by Rahman (1989).

Habit and Habitat:
This fishes found mostly in swift streams but also in swamps and lakes (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991) and appear to prefer sandy or fine gravelly bottom, into which are able to burrow and quickly disappear. Demersal and potamodromous and feeds on insects larvae and bottom detritus (Kibria, 2007). It streams of Mymensingh, Sylhet, Dinajpur and Rangpur (Rahman, 1989).

Economic importance:
Good fish as food, not very costly fish. The species rear in aquarium as an ornamental fish.

Status and Conservation:
This fish is available in fish markets of the study area specially rainy season but not abundant. Not listed in IUCN Red book of threatened fish of Bangladesh by IUCN Bangladesh (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).


Day, F. 1878, The Fishes of India: being a Natural History of the Fishes Known to Inhabit the seas and fresh waters of India, Burma and Ceylon. Text and Atlas in 4 parts. William Dawson & Sons Ltd. London, p. 609.

Hamilton, F., 1822. An account of the fishes found in the river Ganges and its branches, Edinburgh & London, Fishes Ganges, p. 353.

IUCN Bangladesh. 2000. Red Book of Threatened Fishes of Bangladesh. IUCN- The World Conservation Union. xii+116 pp.

Menon, A. G. K. 1974. A Checklist of the Fishes of the Himalayan and the Indo-gangetic Plains. Inland Fisheries Society India, Barrackpore, p 52.

Qureshi, M. R. 1965. Common Freshwater Fishes of Pakistan. Karachi VIII. p. 27.

Rahman, A.K.A. 2005. Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh (Second edition). The Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000. 394 pp.

Rahman, A.K.A. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh. The Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000. p 157.

Kibria, M.M. 2007. Lepidocephalichthys guntea (Hamilton, 1822). In: Siddiqui, K.U., Islam, M.A., Kabir, S.M.H., Ahmed, M., Ahmed, A.T.A., Rahman, A.K.A., Haque, E.U., Ahmed, Z.U., Begum, Z.N.T., Hasan, M.A., Khondker, M., and Rahman, M.M. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh, Vol. 23. Freshwater Fishes. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka. p.106.

Shaw and Shebbeare, 1937. The Fishes of Northern Bangal.  Journal of Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal Science. p 68.

Talwar, P. K. and Jhingran, A. G., 1991. Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries. Volume 1. Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, Calcutta. p 525.

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Guntea loach: Lepidocephalichthys guntea

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Md. Abul Bashar

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

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