Snakehead: Striped Snakehead


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Striped Snakehead, also known as Snakehead Murrel and Haruan are freshwater fish from the Channidae family. They are native across southern Asia, southern China, Indochina, Malaysia, and Indonesia, including the Sunda Islands. They have a wide range of habitats ranging from rivers, swamps, ponds, canals, lakes, and land of rice fields. They are able to tolerate adverse environments due to their hardiness and air-breathing capability which is unique to Channidae family. They can survive long drought as long as their skin and breathing apparatus remain moist. In still or low flowing water, they often rise to the water surface to take gulps of air. They are popular as freshwater game fish and food fish. They are also used as a traditional medicine to enhance wound healing and reduce postoperative pain and discomfort.

Striped Snakehead fry are reddish orange and are guarded by both parents until they turn greenish brown at around 5 to 6 cm. They often swim at the surface and are guarded by the male parent, hiding below the water surface. Adults are dark brown in colour with faint black bands visible across its entire body. They are able to grow to about 90 cm. They feed on fish, frogs, snakes, insects, earthworms, tadpoles and crustaceans.