The Sundarbans (beautiful forest) is the largest mangrove forest of the world and is a component of the greater Ganga-Brahmaputra estuarine system. It occupies the area between latitude 21027’30” to 22030’00” north and longitude 89002’00” to 90000’00” east (Huda and Haque 2003). The following finfish species are available in the Sundarbans (Huda and Haque 2003)-


Order: Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks)

Family: Carcharhinidae (Requiem sharks)

  1. Blacktip reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus
  2. Spear tooth shark or Queensland river shark, Glyphis glyphis
  3. Spade-nose shark, Scoliodon laticaudus

Family: Sphyrnidae (Hammerhead sharks)

  1. Wing head shark or Hammer head shark, Eusphyrna blochii

Order: Pristiformes (Sawfishes)

Family: Pristidae (Sawfishes)

  1. Saw shark, Pristis cuspidatus
  2. Large tooth saw fish, Pristis microdon

Order Rajiformes (Skates)

Family Rhynchobatidae (Wedgefishes)

  1. White spotted guitar fish, Rhynchobatus djiddensis

Family: Rhinobatidae (Guitarfishes)

  1. Sharpnose guitarfish, Rhinobatos granulatus

Order: Torpediniformes (Electric rays)

Family: Narcinidae (Numbfishes)

  1. Brown numbfish or Brown electric ray, Narcine brunnea
  2. Black spotted numbfish or Black spotted electric ray, Narcine timlei
  3. Spottail sleeper ray or Spotted electric ray, Narke dipterygia

Order: Myliobatiformes (Stingrays)

Family: Dasyatidae (Trygonidae; Whiptail stingrays)

  1. Sharp snout stingray, Dasyatis zugei
  2. Gangetic stingray, Himantura fluviatilis
  3. White spotted shipray, Himantura gerrardi
  4. Leopard stingray, Himantura uarnak
  5. Leopard stingray, Himantura undulata
  6. Bleeker’s whipray, Himantura uarnacoides
  7. Dwarf stingray, Himantura walga
  8. Cowtail stingray, Pastinachus sephen

Family: Gymnuridae (Butterfly rays)

  1. Longtail butterfly ray, Gymnura poecilura



Order ELOPIFORMES (Tenpounders)

Family: Elopidae (Tenpounders; Ladyfishes)

  1. Lady fish, Elops machnata

Order: Anguilliformes (Apodes; Eels)

Family: Muraenidae (Heteromyridae; Moray eels)

  1. White spotted morey, Gymnothorax punctatus

Family: Ophichthidae (Snake eels and Worm eels)

  1. Rie paddy eel, Pisodonophis boro

Family: Muraenesocidae (Pike congers)

  1. Indian pike-conger eel, Congresox talabonoides
  2. Daggertooth pike-conger eel, Muraenesox cinereus

Order: Synbranchiformes (Swamp eels)

Family: Synbranchidae (Swamp eels)

  1. Gangetic mud eel, Monopterus cuchia

Order: Clupeiformes (Herrings)

Family: Engraulidae (Engraulididae and Stolephoridae; Anchovies)

  1. Pointed tail anchovy or Gold spotted greanadier anchovy, Coilia dussumieri
  2. Neglected anchovy, Coilia neglecta
  3. Tapertail anchovy, Coilia ramcarati
  4. Gangetic hairfin anchovy, Setipinna phasa
  5. Scaly hairfin anchovy, Setipinna taty
  6. Spined anchovy, Stolephorus tri
  7. Dussumier’s thryssa, Thryssa dussumieri
  8. Hamilton’s anchovy, Thryssa hamiltonii

Family: Pristigasteridae (Longfin herrings)

  1. Coromandel ilisha, Ilisha filigera
  2. Bigeye herring or Bigeye ilisha, Ilisha megaloptera
  3. Indian ilisha or Indian herring, Ilisha melastoma
  4. Indian pellona herring, Pellona ditchela
  5. Smooth-back herring, Reconda russeliana

Family: Chirocentridae (Wolf herrings)

  1. Dorab wolf herring, Chirocentrus dorab
  2. Whitefin wolf herring, Chirocentrus nudus

Family: Clupeidae (Herrings; shads, sprats, sardines, pilchards, and menhadens)

  1. Rainbow sardine, Dussumieria acuta
  2. White sardine, Escualosa thoracata
  3. Fringe scale sardinella, Sardinella fimbriata
  4. Goldspot sardinella, Sardinella gibbosa
  5. Blacktip sardinella, Sardinella melanura
  6. Gizzard shad, Anodontostoma chacunda
  7. Indiver river sardine, Gudusia chapra
  8. Kelee shad, Hilsa kelee
  9. Hilsa shad, Tenualosa ilisha
  10. Toli shad, Tenualosa toli

Order: Siluriformes (Nematognathi; Catfishes)

Family: Bagridae (Bagrid catfishes)

  1. Day’s catfish, Mystus bleekeri
  2. Long whiskered catfish, Mystus gulio

Family: Schilbeidae (Schilbidae; Schilbeid catfishes)

  1. Gangetic catfish, Ailia coila
  2. Silondia, Silonia silondia

Family: Pangasiidae (Shark catfishes)

  1. Fatty catfish, Pangasius pangasius

Family: Clariidae (Airbreathing catfishes)

  1. Walking catfish, Clarias batrachus

Family: Ariidae (Tachysuridae; Sea catfishes)

  1. Threadfin sea catfish, Arius arius
  2. Blacktip sea catfish, Arius dussumieri
  3. Gagora catfish, Arius gagora
  4. Spotted catfish, Arius maculatus
  5. Engraved catfish, Arius nenga
  6. Flatmouth sea catfish, Arius platystomus
  7. Sona sea catfish, Arius sona
  8. Giant sea catfish, Arius thalassinus

Family: Plotosidae (Eeltail catfishes)

  1. Canine eel catfish, Plotosus canius
  2. Striped eel catfish, Plotosus lineatus

Order: Aulopiformes (Lizardfishes)

Family: Synodontidae (Lizardfishes)

  1. Grater lizardfish, Saurida tumbil
  2. Bomby-duck, Harpadon nehereus

Order: Gadiformes (Cods)

Family: Bregmacerotidae (Codlets)

  1. Unicorn codlet, Bregmaceros mcclellandi

Order: Batrachoidiformes (Haplodoci; Toadfishes)

Family: Batrachoididae (Toadfishes)

  1. Gangetic toad fish, Allenbatrachus grunniens

Order: Mugiliformes (Mullets)

Family: Mugilidae (Mullets)

  1. Goldspot mullet, Liza parsia
  2. Tade mullet, Liza planiceps
  3. Greenback mullet, Liza subviridis
  4. Striped mullet, Mugil cephalus
  5. Corsula mullet, Rhinomugil corsula
  6. Yellow tail mullet, Sicamugil cascasia
  7. Speigler’s mullet, Valamugil speigleri

Order: Beloniformes (Needlefishes)

Family: Belonidae (Needlefishes)

  1. Spottail needlefish, Strongylura strongylura
  2. Hound needlefish, Tylosurus crocodilus
  3. Freshwater needlefish, Xenentodon cancila

Family: Hemiramphidae (Halfbeaks)

  1. Congaturi healfbeak, Hyporhamphus limbatus
  2. George’s halfbeak, Rhynchorhamphus georgii

Order: Gasterosteiformes (Sticklebacks)

Family: Syngnathidae (Pipefishes and seahorses)

  1. Yellow seahorse, Hippocampus kuda

Family: Fistulariidae (Cornetfishes)

  1. Red cornetfish, Fistularia petimba

Order: Scorpaeniformes (Mail-cheeked fishes)

Family: Scorpaenidae (Scorpionfishes; Rockfishes)

  1. Russel’s lionfish, Pterois miles
  2. Plaintail firefish, Pterois russellii

Family: Platycephalidae (Flatheads)

  1. Spotted flathead, Cociella punctata
  2. Rough flathead, Grammoplites scaber
  3. Indian flathead, Platycephalus indicus
  4. Thorny flathead, Rogadius pristiger

Order: Perciformes (Perches)

Family: Latidae (Lates)

  1. Barramundi, Lates calcarifer

Family: Ambassidae (Chandidae; Asiatic glassfishes)

  1. Elongate glassperch, Chanda nama
  2. Himalayan glassperch, Pseudambassis baculis
  3. Indian glassperch, Pseudambassis ranga

Family: Serranidae (Sea basses)

  1. Vermillion grouper, Cephalopholis miniata
  2. Orangespotted grouper, Epinephelus coioides
  3. Blacktip grouper, Epinephelus fasciatus

Family: Apogonidae (Cardinalfishes)

  1. Nine-banded cardinal fish, Apogon novemfasciatus
  2. Seven-banded cardinal fish, Apogon septemstriatus

Family: Sillaginidae (Sillagos; whitings, smelt-whitings)

  1. Gangetic sillago, Sillaginopsis panijus
  2. Silver sillago, Sillago sihama

Family: Lactariidae (False trevallies)

  1. False trevally, Lactarius lactarius

Family: Rachycentridae (Cobias)

  1. Cobia, Rachycentron canadus

Family: Carangidae (Jacks and pompanos)

  1. Indian thread fish, Alectis indica
  2. Shrimp scad, Alepes djedaba
  3. Blackfin scad, Alepes melanoptera
  4. Cleftbelly trevally, Atropus atropos (male)
  5. Malabar trevally, Carangoides malabaricus
  6. Torpedo scad, Megalaspis cordyla
  7. Black pomfret, Parastromateus niger
  8. Talang queenfish, Scomberoides commersonnianus
  9. Oxeye scad, Selar boobs
  10. Big eye scad, Selar crumenophthalmus

Family: Menidae (Moonfishes)

  1. Moonfish, Mene maculata

Family: Leiognathidae (Ponyfishes, slimys, or slipmouths)

  1. Toothed ponyfish, Gazza minuta
  2. Orangefin ponyfish, Leiognathus bindus
  3. Common ponyfish, Leiognathus equulus
  4. Striped ponyfish, Leiognathus fasciatus
  5. Punnose ponyfish, Secutor insidiator
  6. Deep pugnose ponyfish, Secutor ruconius

Family: Lutjanidae (Snappers)

  1. John’s snapper, Lutjanus johnii
  2. Malabar blood snapper, Lutjanus malabaricus
  3. Blood snapper, Lutjanus sanguineus
  4. Pinjalo snapper, Pinjalo pinjalo

Family: Lobotidae (Tripletails)

  1. Tripletail, Lobotes surinamensis
  2. Four-barred tigerfish, Coius quadrifasciatus

Family: Gerreidae (Mojarras)

  1. Whipfin silverbiddy, Gerres filamentosus
  2. Longfin silverbiddy, Pentaprion longimanus

Family: Haemulidae (Pomadasyidae; Grunts)

  1. Silver grunt, Pomadasys argyreus
  2. Saddle grunt, Pomadasys maculatus

Family: Sparidae (Porgies)

  1. Longspine seabream, Argyrops spinifer

Family: Lethrinidae (Emperors or emperor breams)

  1. Ornate emperor, Lethrinus ornatus

Family: Nemipteridae (Threadfin breams)

  1. Japanese threadfin bream, Nemipterus japonicus
  2. Doublewhip threadfin bream, Nemipterus nematophorus

Family: Polynemidae (Threadfins)

  1. Four finger threadfin, Eleutheronema tetradactylum
  2. Indian threadfin, Polynemus indicus
  3. Paradise threadfin, Polynemus paradiseus
  4. Golden sixthread tassel fish, Polynemus sexfilis
  5. Blackspot threadfin, Polynemus sextarius

Family: Sciaenidae (Drums; croakers)

  1. Reeve’s croaker, Chrysochir aureus
  2. Goatee croaker, Dendrophysa russelli
  3. Silver croaker, Johnius argentatus
  4. Black croaker or Bearded croaker, Johnius dussumieri
  5. Spindle croaker, Johnius elongatus
  6. Gangetic bola, Johnius gangeticus
  7. Sharptooth hammer croaker, Johnius vogleri
  8. Cuja bola, Macrospinosa cuja
  9. Tigertooth croaker, Otolithes rubber
  10. Pama croaker, Otolithoides pama
  11. Panna croaker, Panna microdon
  12. Donkey croaker, Pennahia anea
  13. Spotted croaker, Protonibea diacanthus
  14. Blotched tiger-toothed croaker, Pterolithus maculatus

Family: Mullidae (Goatfishes)

  1. Sulphur goatfish, Upeneus sulphureus

Family: Toxotidae (Archerfishes)

  1. Spotted archerfish, Toxotes chatareus

Family: Drepaneidae (Sicklefishes)

  1. Spotted sicklefish, Drepane punctata
  2. Banded sicklefish, Drepane longimanus

Family: Terapontidae (Teraponidae, Theraponidae; grunters or tigerperches)

  1. Terapon perch, Terapon jarbua
  2. Banded terapon perch, Terapon theraps

Family: Uranoscopidae (Stargazers)

  1. Stargazer, Ichthoscopus inermis
  2. Stargazer, Uranoscopus guttatus

Family: Eleotridae (Eleotrididae; sleepers)

  1. Duckbill sleeper goby, Butis butis
  2. Black spot sleeper goby, Butis melanostigma
  3. Dusky sleeper goby, Eleotris fusca

Family: Gobiidae (Gobies)

  1. Bumblebee goby, Brachygobius nunus
  2. Tank goby, Glossogobius giurus
  3. Goby, Pogonogobius planiformes
  4. Goby, Stigmatogobius sadanundio
  5. Goby, Apocryptes bato
  6. Mudskipper, Boleopthalmus boddarti
  7. Goby, Parapocryptes batoides
  8. Goby, Pseudapocryptes lanceolatus
  9. Goby, Scartelaos histophorus
  10. Mudskipper, Periophthalmodon schiosseri
  11. Mudskipper, Periophthalmus koelreuterii
  12. Rubicundus eelgoby, Odontamblyopus rubicundus
  13. Burmese eelgoby, Taenioides buchanani
  14. Burrowing goby, Trypauchan vagina

Family: Kurtidae (Nurseryfishes)

  1. Indian humphead, Kurtus indicus

Family: Ephippidae (Spadefishes)

  1. Spade fish, Ephippus orbis

Family: Scatophagidae (Scats)

  1. Spotted scat, Scatophagus argus

Family: Siganidae (Rabbitfishes)

  1. Streaked rabbitfish, Siganus javus

Family: Sphyraenidae (Barracudas)

  1. Great barracuda, Sphyraena barracuda
  2. Pickhandle barracuda, Sphyraena jello
  3. Forster’s barracuda, Sphyraena forsteri

Family: Trichiuridae (Cutlassfishes)

  1. Smallhead ribbon fish, Eupleurogrammus muticus
  2. Savalani ribbonfish, Lepturacanthus salava
  3. Large head ribbonfish, Trichiurus lepturus

Family: Scombridae (Mackerels and tunas)

  1. Kawakawa or Estern little tuna, Euthynnus affinis
  2. Short mackerel, Rastrelliger brachysoma
  3. Indian mackerel, Rastrelliger kanagurta
  4. Striped mackerel, Sarda orientalis
  5. Narrowbarred Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus commersoni
  6. Spotted seerfish or Indopacific king mackerel, Scomberomorus guttatus
  7. Streaked seer fish, Scomberomorus lineolatus

Family: Stromateidae (Butterfishes)

  1. Silver pomfret, Pampus argenteus
  2. Chinese pomfret, Pampus chinensis

Family: Channidae (Snakeheads)

  1. Asiatic snakehead, Channa orientalis
  2. Spotted snakehead, Channa punctata
  3. Striped snakehead, Channa striata

Order: Pleuronectiformes (Heterosomata; flatfishes)

Family: Psettodidae (Spiny turbots)

  1. Indian halibut, Psettodes erumei

Family: Paralichthyidae (Sand flounders)

  1. Largetooth sand flounder, Pseudorhombus arsius
  2. Deep sand flounder, Pseudorhombus elevatus
  3. Malayan sand flounder, Pseudorhombus malayanus

Family: Soleidae (Soles)

  1. Oriental sole, Euryglossa orientalis
  2. Pan sole, Euryglossa pan
  3. Zebra sole, Zebrias altipinnis

Family: Cynoglossidae (Tonguefishes)

  1. Doublelined tonguesole, Cynoglossus bilineatus
  2. Bengal tonguesole, Cynoglossus cynoglossus
  3. Long tonguesole, Cynoglossus lingua
  4. Speckled tonguesole, Cynoglossus punticeps
  5. Tonguesole, Cynoglossus versicolor
  6. Double line tonguesole, Parapalagusia bilineata
  7. Threeband tonguesole, Symphurus trifasciatus

Order: Tetraodontiformes (Plectognathi; Plectognaths)

Family: Triacanthidae (Triplespines)

  1. Longspined tripodfish, Pseudotriacanthus striglifer

Family: Balistidae (Triggerfishes)

  1. Starry triggerfish, Abalistes stellaris

Family: Tetraodontidae (Puffers)

  1. Star puffer, Arothron stellatus
  2. Green puffer, Chelonodon fluviatilis
  3. Gangetic puffer, Chelonodon patoca
  4. Moontail puffer, Gastrophysus lunaris
  5. Lattice puffer, Takifugu oblongus
  6. Ocellated puffer, Tetraodon cutcutia
  7. Malabar puffer, Tetraodon travacoricus


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Finfishes of the Sundarbans

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Shams Galib

Shams works in freshwater ecosystems, primarily on fish diversity in terms of their availability, and richness; he is also interested in aquatic invasive species and their impacts on ecosystem. Email: More...

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