Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Dwarf Snakehead
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order : Perciformes
Family : CHANNIDAE
Species : Channa gachua
Maximum Length : 20 cm

The Dwarf Snakehead is a bottom-dwelling species which commonly occurs in shallow forest streams, particularly in swamp forest systems. It may also, however, inhabit faster-flowing streams in hilly areas as well as larger, slow-flowing rivers. 

Adults grow to just 20 cm maximum length, and in body form are similar to other snakeheads, being a typical, streamlined torpedo shape.

The origin of the dorsal fin is near the gill openings, and this extends along the entire length of the body. The anal fin is almost as long as dorsal. The fins are attractively marked with thick, orange-red borders, as is the rounded, convex tail fin. The extreme edge of the reddish border may be fringed with a narrow edge of white. The pectoral fins are rounded and possess a series of narrow, dark bars.

Predatory in habit, its diet comprises terrestrial insects and smaller fish prey.

The species occurs in many parts of Asia, including the Indian Subcontinent, Burma, parts of China, the Mekong Basin (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia), Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and parts of Indonesia.    


Fig 1 : A 15 cm adult Dwarf Snakehead in swamp forest habitat, Singapore.

Fig 2 : Adult specimen in water just a few centimetres deep.

Fig 3 : This image shows the shape and typical patterning of the pectoral fins.


References : F1