Snakeheads


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Snakeheads belong to the Channidae family. They are distributed in southern Asia and tropical Africa. They are distinguished by their elongated body, long dorsal and anal fin bases, and protruding lower jaw. Most species possess large scales on the head which are reminiscent of the epidermal scales on the heads of snakes.

Snakeheads are freshwater fish with some species entering brackish water. They often rise to the water surface to take gulps of air. They have a supplementary breathing apparatus in the form of paired suprabranchial chambers located behind and above the gills, lined with respiratory epithelium. These chambers allow them to breathe atmospheric air and survive in low water oxygen conditions or even out of the water for a considerable period of time. They are known for their ferocious feeding behavior taking on fishes, frogs, birds, insects, and even small mammals.

There are 2 genera and about 38 species worldwide. Malaysia has about 9 species.


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Scientific Name: Channa micropeltes  (Cuvier, 1831)
English Name: Giant Snakehead, Red Toman, Indonesian Snakehead
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 巨型鳢鱼 (Jùxíng lǐyú), 多曼 (Duō màn)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Toman
Local Hokkien: Toman
Size: Maximum standard length 130 cm, commonly 50 cm.







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Scientific Name: Channa marulioides  (Bleeker, 1851)
English Name: Emperor Snakehead
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 似眼鳢 (Shì yǎn lǐ)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Haruan Kerandang, Toman Bunga
Size: Maximum total length at least 60 cm, commonly 30 cm.






Scientific Name: Channa striata  (Bloch, 1793)
English Name: Snakehead Murrel, Striped Snakehead
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 线鳢 (Xiàn lǐ), 生鱼 (Shēng yú), 鳢鱼 (Lǐ yú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Haruan, Toman Paya
Local Hokkien: Lay Hu
Size: Maximum standard length 100 cm, commonly 50 cm.






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