Systematic position
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Clupeiformes (Herrings)
Family: Clupeidae (herrings (Shads, sprats, sardines, pilchards, and menhadens)
Subfamily: Alosinae (Shads)
Genus: Tenualosa
Species: T. toli

Alausa argyrochloris Valenciennes, 1847
Alausa ctenolepis Bleeker, 1852
Alausa toli Valenciennes, 1847
Alosa argyrochloris (Valenciennes, 1847)
Clupea toli (Valenciennes, 1847)
Hilsa toli (Valenciennes, 1847)

Common/local names
English: Toli shad
Bangladesh: Chandana (চন্দনা) and Chandana ilish (চন্দনা ইলিশ)

Distributions: Bay of Bengal, coastal India, Indo-Australian Archipelago and Hongkong (Shafi and Quddus, 2003) and India (eastern and western coasts, also rivers) to Java sea and south China sea (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Conservation status: Not threatened in Bangladesh (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Morphology: Body fusiform, deep moderately and compressed strongly. Dorsal profile is somewhat concave than that of abdomen. Upper jaw contains distinct median notch, lower jaw included when mouth firmly shut. Maxilla extending to posterior half of orbit and its exposed portion smooth and covered by skin. Skin covers the dorsal surface of head and no fronto-parietal striae present. Gill filaments of outer hemibranch on 1st arch half to three quarter length of those of inner hemibranch. Gill raker present on all arches are straight or slightly curved, fine and numerous. 60-100 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991); 80-90 (Rahman, 2005) gill raker present in lower part of first arch. Pseudobranch not attenuated and without ventral groove. Teeth is absent.

Head 3.7-4.0 in standard, 4.9-5.2 in total length. Height 2.8-3.0 in standard, 3.7-4.0 in total length. Eye 4.5-5.0; Snout and interorbital slightly over eye-diameter. Length of maxilla 2.2-2.4 in head, pectoral 4.39-5.3, pelvics 8.8-9.8 in standard length (Rahman, 1989 and 2005).

Median lateral series contain 40-41 scales and 13-14 scales in transverse series (Rahman, 1989 and 2005). Edge of scales pectinated and caudal is covered by minute scale. 29-31 scutes, 17-18 prepelvic, 12-13 post pelvic (Rahman, 1989 and 2005).

Dorsal originates from nearer to snout than to caudal base. Maxillary scales present on pectoral and pelvic. Origin of pelvic below 4th to 7th branched ray of dorsal (Rahman, 1989 and 2005). Caudal fin longer than head and upper lobe is shorter than lower lobe.

Color of body is silvery shot with yellow and purple. Shoulder bares a dark spot and present in behind the gill. Fins are hyaline. Scales on back more or less dark colored.

Fin formula:
Br. 5; D. 17-18; P1. 14-15; P2. 8(1/7); A. 19-21 (3-4/16-17) (Rahman, 1989 and 2005)
D. iv-v 14-15; A iii 15-17; P I 13; V i 8 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991)
D. 16-17 ; P. 14 ; V. 9 : A. 19-20; C. 24  (Shafi and Quddus, 2001)

Maximum length: 50 cm (Huda et al., 2003).

Habitats: Lives in sea, entering rivers. Found mostly in the mouth of river (Shafi and Quddus, 2001). Marine, pelagic and schooling in coastal waters, euryhaline and perhaps anadromous, often ascending river to breed (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Bay of Bengal, estuaries and tidal rivers (Rahman, 1989 and 2005). Also found in the Sundarbans (Huda et al., 2003).

Food and feeding habit: Feed on phytoplankton and zooplankton (Shafi and Quddus, 2001)



Bleeker P (1852) Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Singapore. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 3:51-86.

Cuvier G and Valenciennes A (1847) Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome vingtième. Livre vingt et unième. De la famille des Clupéoïdes. Histoire naturelle des poissons. v. 20: i-xviii + 1 p. + 1-472, Pls. 591-606.

Huda MS, Haque ME, Babul AS and Shil NC (ed.) (2003) Field guide to finfishes of Sundarban, Aquatic resources division, Sundarban, Boyra, Khulna, Bangladesh, p. 174.

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. 251-252.

Rahman AKA (2005) Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 2nd edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 274-275.

Shafi M and Kuddus MMA (2001) Bangladesher Matsho Shampad (Fisheries of Bangladesh) (in bengali), kabir publication.Dhaka, Bangladesh. p. 42.

Shafi M and Quddus MMA (2003) Bangaposagorer Matsho Shampad (Fisheries of  the Bay of Bengal) (in Bengali), Kabir publication. Dhaka, Bangladesh. p. 122.

Talwar PK and Jhingran AG (1991) Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries, Vol. 1, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi-Calcutta, p. 102.


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Toli shad, Tenualosa toli (Valenciennes, 1847)

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S.M. Abu Naser

MS Student, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh. Email:; More...

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