Channa andrao, Britz, Ralf, 2013

Britz, Ralf, 2013, Channa andrao, a new species of dwarf snakehead from West Bengal, India (Teleostei: Channidae), Zootaxa 3731 (2), pp. 287-294: 288-291

publication ID

publication LSID

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Channa andrao

new species

Channa andrao  , new species

Figures 1View FIGURE 1, 2View FIGURE 2, 5View FIGURE 5

Holotype. BMNH 2013.10. 1.2, 98.2 mm SL; India: West Bengal: Jalpaiguri district: Lefraguri swamp, 26 ° 31 'N 89 ° 50 'E; Pradhan K. 28 April 2008.

Paratypes. BMNH 2013.10.1.3–11, 9, 82–100.3 mm SL; same data as holotype.

Diagnosis. Channa andrao  is distinguished from all other species in the genus, except, C. asiatica (Linnaeus)  ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4), C. bleheri Vierke  ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3), C. burmanica Chaudhuri  , the recently described C. hoaluensis Nguyen  and C. ninhbinhensis Nguyen  , and C. orientalis Bloch & Schneider  by the absence of pelvic fins. It is distinguished from C. asiatica  , C. hoaluensis  , C. ninhbinhensis  and C. burmanica  by fewer vertebrae (41–43 vs. 45–57). It is further distinguished from C. asiatica  , C. hoaluensis  and C. ninhbinhensis  by fewer dorsal- (35–36 vs. 46–49) and anal-fin rays (23–26 vs. 28–32), and fewer scales in the lateral line (42–43 vs. 55–64). It differs also from C. asiatica  by fewer scales above (3.5 vs 5.5) and below the lateral line (5.5 vs. 11), fewer preanal scales (21–22 vs. 39), fewer pectoral-fin rays (14–15 vs. 16), fewer principal caudal rays (12–13 vs. 16) and by its reproductive behaviour (mouthbrooder vs. floating-egg guarder). The new species differs from Channa orientalis  by a longer dorsal- (64.6–68.8 vs. 58.0– 59.6 % SL), and anal-fin base (40.8–44.5 vs. 36.4–38.8 % SL), more lateral line scales (42–43 vs. 40–41), more vertebrae (41–43 vs. 38–40), more anal-fin rays (23–26 vs. 21–22) and the coloration of its pectoral fins (two to three basal pectoral-fin bands vs. five narrow pectoral-fin bands, see Fig. 5View FIGURE 5). Channa andrao  is most similar to C. bleheri  (Figs. 3,5), but differs from it by a longer dorsal-fin base (64.6–68.8 vs. 59.7–63.7 % SL), absence (vs. presence) of whitish-cream (orange-red in life) blotches on the caudal fin, only two (vs. five) dark concentric bands in the pectoral fin (see Fig. 4View FIGURE 4) and by its reproductive behaviour (mouthbrooder vs. floating-egg guarder).

Description. For general appearance see Figures 1–2View FIGURE 1View FIGURE 2. Morphometric data are provided in Table 1.

A member of the Channa gachua  species group (sensu Britz 2008). Body elongate, round in cross section anteriorly, laterally compressed at caudal peduncle, body depth 5.7–6.6 times in SL. Head large, length 3.4–3.7 times in SL. Head widest halfway between posterior margin of eye and that of opercle. Mouth large, maxilla extending posteriorly beyond jaw angle, lips fleshy. Both jaws with multiple rows of sharp, pointed minute teeth, no canines. Vomer with small number of canine-like teeth only. Minute teeth on palatine.

Pectoral-fin rays 13–15. Dorsal-fin rays 35–36. Anal-fin rays 23–26. Caudal-fin rays (including procurrent rays): 1 + 6 + 6 + 2 (1), 2 + 6 + 6 + 2 (5), 2 + 6 + 6 + 3 (1), 3 + 6 + 6 + 3 (1), 2 + 7 + 6 + 3 (1), 2 + 6 + 7 + 1 (1).

Predorsal scales 13 (2)– 14 (8). Lateral line with 42 (5)– 43 (5) scales extending from shoulder girdle in a horizontal line, but dropping one scale row at scale 13 (4) or 14 (6), then continuing horizontally to caudal peduncle. Scales above lateral line 3.5 (10) and below 5.5 (10) at anal-fin origin. Vertebrae: 41–43.

Colour. In alcohol ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1, 5View FIGURE 5), dorsum and sides of head and body uniformly dark grey. Opercular area and jaws gray, becoming lighter towards throat, with whitish cream marbling spots. Branchiostegal membrane dark grey, isthmus cream. Belly cream, ventral area adjacent to anal fin with alternating whitish cream and grey oblique lines.

Pectoral fin with dark grey spot at fleshy base, more distally with two alternating creamish white and dark grey semi-circular bands, distal part of pectoral fin with dark grey fin rays alternating with whitish cream fin membranes ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1, 5View FIGURE 5). Dorsal, anal and caudal fins dark grey with narrow white rim.

In life ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2), body light grey, series of red spots on cheek and opercle continued on body by series of red marks arranged in oblique lines, most conspicuous on ventral half of side above anal-fin base, corresponding to whitish cream marks in preserved specimens. Dorsal and anal fin with bluish, sometimes greenish reflecting membranes, distal parts of dorsal and anal-fin rays dark grey, both fins with white rim. Caudal fin with bluish membranes, but dark-grey fin rays, rimmed with red and more distally with white.

Distribution. Known only from Lefraguri swamp, Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal, India ( Fig. 6View FIGURE 6).

Etymology. The species name honours Andrew Rao, Malabar Tropicals, Calcutta, for his support of the ichthyological exploration of the freshwater fish fauna of India.

Remarks. This species was caught in a swamp with silty bottom in a forested area ( Fig. 6View FIGURE 6). The shallow turbid water had pH 6.3, conductivity 72 µS·cm, water temperature 26.9 °C, and there was an abundance of aquatic vegetation (recorded 11 July 2006 by A. Rao).

This species is known in the ornamental fish trade as Channa  “blue bleheri  ”, C. “Lal Cheng” or C. sp. “Assam”. It is a male mouthbrooder (Brede & Antler 2009).