Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found in rivers, canals, beels, ditches, inundated fields and other freshwater areas. Adults fight well and provide good sport. Carnivore. Breeding occurs before the commencement of monsoons. Oviparous, distinct pairing possibly like other members of the same genus (Ref. 205).
  • Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran 1991 Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. (Ref. 4833)
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is widely distributed in the Ganges and Indus river drainages, and also occurs in several major rivers in peninsular India at least as far south as the Krishna River (Ferraris and Runge 1999). Records of this species from south of the Krishna River drainage (e.g. the Cauvery River) may represent introductions (Jayaram et al. 1982). There is a single specimen collected from the Irrawaddy River drainage in Myanmar deposited in the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet in Stockholm. If the locality information is correct, then this species is also found in the Irrawaddy River drainage.
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South central Asia: Ganges River system and peninsular India: Nepal, Indai, Bangladesh and Pakistan..
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Asia: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh (Ref. 4833). Reported from Thailand (Ref. 37773) and Yunnan, China (Ref. 84139).
  • Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran 1991 Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. (Ref. 4833)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 11 - 12
  • Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran 1991 Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. (Ref. 4833)
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Size

Maximum size: 1500 mm TL
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Max. size

150 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 4833))
  • Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran 1991 Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. (Ref. 4833)
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Diagnostic Description

Body elongate and compressed; snout broad and spatulate. Barbels extend posteriorly to pelvic fins or beyond to anal fin. Dorsal spine weakly serrated on its posterior edge; adipose fin base short, about as long as the rayed dorsal fin base. Color is brownish-gray on back, silvery on flanks and belly. A dark well-defined spot is on the adipose dorsal fin.
  • Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran 1991 Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. (Ref. 4833)
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Ecology

Habitat

Indus River Demersal Habitat

This taxon is one of the native demersal fish taxa that are found in the Indus River system. Major tributaries of the Indus rise in the Himalayan Mountains and the Hindu Kush; these influent rivers include the Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi and Sutlej. The Indus mainstem rises on the Tibetan Plateau and flows generally westward.

Generally the Indus sustains slower velocities with a wider channel as the river approaches its delta on the Arabian Sea. The Indus transports massive amounts of silt generated by human disturbances in its watershed as well as the torrential monsoonal rain events. Water quality issues in the Indus Basin have historically been dominated by sediment loading in a watershed which is subject to high natural erosivity, and early disturbance by sedentary agriculture on the floodplains and valleys. Beginning in the twentieth century, water pollution has been aggravated by massive water withdrawals for agriculture that have then concentrated pollutants.

The Green Revolution has exacerbated water pollution by considerable additions of nitrate to promote crop growth. Other aggravating factors have included increasing amounts of herbicides and pesticides, as pressures to increase crop production expand. Flow of the perennial Indus is dominated by: (a) meltwaters from the Tibetan icefield, the third largest ice sheet formation in the world; (b) snowfall and snowmelt from higher elevation of the watershed; and (c) episodic monsoonal rains that lead to periodic flooding in the basin.

Some of the arge native demersal fish associates in the Indus Basin are the 70 centimetre (cm) scaly osman (Diptychus maculatus), the 30 cm reba (Bangana ariza), the 30 cm Indus snowtrout (Ptychobarbus conirostris), the 30 cm Kunar snowtrout (Schizothorax labiatus), the 35 cm false osman (Schizopygopsis stoliczkai), the 47 cm Chirruh snowtrout (Schizothorax esocinus), and the 40 cm Sattar snowtrout (Schizopyge curvifrons).

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Indus River Habitat

The 150 cm giant river-catfish (Sperata seenghala) is one of several native high trophic level demersal (organisms living on or near the bottom) fish species present in the Indus River and its tributaries. Major tributaries of the Indus rise in the Himalayan Mountains and the Hindu Kush; these influent rivers include the Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi and Sutlej. The Indus mainstem rises on the Tibetan Plateau and flows generally westward.

The Green Revolution has exacerbated water pollution by considerable additions of nitrate to promote crop growth. Other aggravating factors have included increasing amounts of herbicides and pesticides, as pressures to increase crop production expand. Flow of the perennial Indus is dominated by: (a) meltwaters from the Tibetan icefield, the third largest ice sheet formation in the world; (b) snowfall and snowmelt from higher elevation of the watershed; and (c) episodic monsoonal rains that lead to periodic flooding in the basin.

Other large demersal fish associates in the Indus Basin are the 244 centimeter (cm) giant devil catfish (Bagarius yarrelli), the 180 cm Long-whiskered catfish (Sperata aor), the mottled loach (Acanthocobitis botia), silond catfish (Silonia silondia) and the 150 cm near threatened clown knifefish (Chitala chitala).

  • C.Michael Hogan. 2012. Indus River. Eds. P.Saundry & C.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC http://www.eoearth.org/article/Indus_River
  • Fishbase. 2010. Fish species in the Indus River Basin
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits larger rivers and lakes.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); freshwater; brackish
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Indus River Habitat

There are a number of moderate sized native demersal fish taxa that are found in the Indus River system including: the 70 cm scaly osman (Diptychus maculatus). Major tributaries of the Indus rise in the Himalayan Mountains and the Hindu Kush; these influent rivers include the Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi and Sutlej. The Indus mainstem rises on the Tibetan Plateau and flows generally westward.

The Green Revolution has exacerbated water pollution by considerable additions of nitrate to promote crop growth. Other aggravating factors have included increasing amounts of herbicides and pesticides, as pressures to increase crop production expand. Flow of the perennial Indus is dominated by: (a) meltwaters from the Tibetan icefield, the third largest ice sheet formation in the world; (b) snowfall and snowmelt from higher elevation of the watershed; and (c) episodic monsoonal rains that lead to periodic flooding in the basin.

Other large demersal fish associates in the Indus Basin are the 30 cm reba (Bangana ariza), the 30 cm Indus snowtrout (Ptychobarbus conirostris), the 30 cm Kunar snowtrout (Schizothorax labiatus), the 35 cm false osman (Schizopygopsis stoliczkai), the 47 cm Chirruh snowtrout (Schizothorax esocinus), and the 40 cm Sattar snowtrout (Schizopyge curvifrons).

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Migration

Potamodromous. Migrating within streams, migratory in rivers, e.g. Saliminus, Moxostoma, Labeo. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Trophic Strategy

Found in rivers, canals, beels, ditches, inundated fields and other freshwater areas.
  • Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran 1991 Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. (Ref. 4833)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Sperata seenghala

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sperata seenghala

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Ng, H.H.

Reviewer/s
Allen, D.J., Vishwanath, W., Dahanukar, N. & Molur, S.

Contributor/s
Molur, S.

Justification
Although Sperata seenghala is assessed as Least Concern for now because current field surveys still indicate that it is still relatively abundant, closer monitoring of its fisheries is badly needed. The effects of current (and future) levels of harvesting on population size are badly in need of study for this species. Should more detailed catch data for this species become available, it may be necessary to reassess this species.
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Population

Population
There is no information on the population and its trends for this species.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Being a large predatory fish that is intensively fished for food, Sperata seenghala is most likely vulnerable to overfishing. However, there is no catch data to suggest that current levels of harvest are adversely affecting its population. Other threats to this species are unknown, since there is no information on the biology of this species and therefore the impact of potential threats (especially those of an anthropogenic nature) remains unknown. The current threats to aquatic biodiversity in all of its known distribution have also not been adequately identified.
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Least Concern (LC)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
More research about the distribution and the biology of this species is needed, as there is insufficient information available. More information on catch data is needed and potential threats to this species also need to be identified.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: likely future use; gamefish: yes
  • Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran 1991 Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. (Ref. 4833)
  • Bhatt, V.S., S.G. Dalal and S.A.H. Abidi 1977 Fecundity of the freshwater catfishes Mystus seenghala (Sykes), Mystus cavasius (Ham), Wallagonia attu (Bloch) and Hetereopneustes fossilis (Bloch) from the plains of northern India. Hydrobiologia 54(3):219-224. (Ref. 58352)
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Wikipedia

Sperata seenghala

Sperata seenghala, the Giant river-catfish, is a species of bagrid catfish. It is known locally as Guizza (গুইজ্জা), Guizza ayer (গুইজ্জা আইড়), Auri, Ari, Pogal, Singhara and Seenghala, among other names.[2] It is found in southern Asia in the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh with reports of occurrence in Thailand and Yunnan, China. It can reach a length of 150 cm, though lengths up to 40 cm are more usual. It is commercially fished for human consumption as well as being a popular gamefish with a reputation for being a good fighter when hooked. It is carnivorous in diet. It can be distinguished from other sperata species by its spatulate, blunt snout, relatively short barbels and mouth that is only 1/3 as wide as the head is long.[3]

Sperata seenghala
dorsal view of head showing snout shape

References[edit]

  1. ^ Breeding and nursing of Asiatic shovelnose catfish, Aorichthys seenghala (Sykes, 1841). (by W. Ratanatrivong, N. Anurakchanachai and P. Rungpiboonsophit)
  2. ^ Giant river catfish, Sperata seenghala (Sykes, 1839).BdFISH
  3. ^ Bhattacharjee, M. J.; Laskar, B. A.; Dhar, B.; Ghosh, S. K. (2012). "Identification and Re-Evaluation of Freshwater Catfishes through DNA Barcoding". In Schierwater, Bernd. PLoS ONE 7 (11): e49950. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049950. PMC 3499493. PMID 23166801.  edit
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