Giant river catfish, Sperata seenghala
Giant river catfish, Sperata seenghala

Systematic position (Nelson 2006)
Class- Actinopterygii (Ray- finned fish)
Order- Siluriformes (Catfishes)
Family- Bagridae (Bagrid catfishes)
Genus- Sperata
Species- S. seenghala

Common/local names:
Fishbase: Gaint river catfish
Bangladesh: Guizza (গুইজ্জা), Guizza ayer (গুইজ্জা আইড়) (Rahman 1989)
India: Auri, Ari, Pogal, Singhara, seenghala, Tengara, Singoa, Alli, Addi, Keeru-jella, multi-jella, Nare-jella, Cumboo-kelutti, Karumthalai-kelutti, Pona-keluthi, Naddu—kelithi, Karatta, Karadu, Sede, Adthu, Halathimeenu, Bilisurage-meena, Coot-kah, Singta (Talwar and Jhingran 1991)

Aor seenghala (Sykes, 1839)
Aoria seenghala
(Sykes, 1839)
Aorichthys aor sarwari
Mirza, Nawaz & Javed, 1992
Aorichthys seenghala
(Sykes, 1839)
Aoricthys seenghala
(Skyes, 1841)
Bagrus lamarrii
(Valenciennes et al., 1840)
Bagrus seenghala
(Sykes, 1839)
Macrones lamarrii
(Valenciennes, 1840)
Macrones seenghala
(Day, 1877)
Macrones seenghala
(Sykes, 1839)
Mystus seenghala
(Sykes, 1839)
Platystoma seenghala
Sykes, 1839
Sperata sarwari
(Mirza, Nawaz & Javed, 1992)

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

Conservation status: Endangered in Bangladesh (IUCN Bangladesh 2000).

Morphology: Body elongated, head depressed, mouth subterminal and about 1/3 of head length. Snout spatulate. Eyes situated on the dorsal portion of head. Dorsal spine comparatively weak than pectoral and serrated posteriorly. 4 pairs of barbels, maxillary pair reaches at the end of pelvic fins. Caudal fin deeply forked and upper lobe is longer than lower. Adipose fin present and contains a black colored spot at the end potion. Light brownish above and silvery at sides and below. Lateral line present and complete. Head 33.3% SL and 26% TL. Height 17.9% SL and 14% TL. Eye 12.3% HL (Galib 2008).

Fin formula: D. I/7; P1.I/9; P2.I/5; A.11-12. (Rahman 1989).

Maximum length and weight: 29 cm (Bhuiyan 1964), 19.2 cm (Hussain, 1999), and 122 cm (Rahman 2005), 1.5 m and common size is 40 cm (Talwar and Jhingran 1991), 112.3 cm (Rahman 1989), 60 cm (Galib 2008).

Rahman (1989) recorded 10 kg fish from Kisorganj (Bangladesh).

Habitat and niche: Bottom living fish. Commonly found in freshwater bodies, rarely in brackish water. Widely distributed in rivers, canals, khals, beels, ditches, inundated fields and other freshwater areas in Bangladesh (Rahman 2005).

Recorded in the Chalan Beel (Galib et al 2009), Choto Jamuna River (Galib et al 2013), Halti Beel (Imteazzaman and Galib 2013).

Food and feeding: Predatory in nature (Shammi and Bhatnagar 2002). Food at different life stages: insects and fish-fry (fry); water fleas, fish-fry, insects and smaller fingerlings (fingerling); Insects, tadpotes and fish (Adult) (Yadav 1997). Sperata seenghala is very destructive to carp fry (Bhuiyan 1964).

Breeding: This fish is reported to breed in summer and rainy season (Galib 2008).

Economic importance: Used as food fish. Each gm flesh of Sperata seenghala contains 200 units of vitamin ‘A’ (Bhuiyan 1964).

Marketing status: Food fish in Bangladesh and always marketed in fresh conditions (Galib 2008).



Cuvier G  and Valenciennes A.  1840. Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome quatorzième. Suite du livre seizième. Labroïdes. Livre dix-septième. Des Malacoptérygiens. Histoire naturelle des poissons. v. 14: i-xxii + 2 pp. + 1-464 + 4 pp., Pls. 389-420.

Hussain MM. 1999. Fishes and Fisheries of the River Atrai in Rajshahi with Reference to its Limnology, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Department of Zoology, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh, pp. 5-200.

Mirza MR, Nawaz H and Javed MN.  1992. A note on the fishes of genus Aorichthys Wu with the description of a new subspecies from Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology v. 24 (no. 3): 211-213.

Sykes WH. 1839. On the fishes of the Deccan. Proceedings of the General Meetings for Scientific Business of the Zoological Society of London 1838 (pt 6): 157-165.


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Giant river catfish, Sperata seenghala (Sykes, 1839)

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