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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Inhabit deep water offshore on sandy mud bottom for most of the year, but also gathers in large shoals in deltas of rivers to feed during monsoons (Ref. 9987, 11230). Spawn 6 batches of broods per year (Ref. 43449). An aggressive predator (Ref. 9987). Primarily caught along Maharashtra with the bag-net, better known as 'dol' net. Operation of this gear is timed to a strong tidal current. The bag with the mouth set against the current strains the fish which is being retained therein by the strength of the current. The net is thus retrieved before the tide turns. Very phosphorescent. Excellent food fish. Marketed fresh and dried or salted; consumed pan-fried (Ref. 9987).
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Distribution

Indo-West Pacific: Somalia to Papua New Guinea, north to Japan and south to Indonesia.
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Indo-West Pacific.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 11 - 13; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 13 - 15
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Size

Maximum size: 400 mm TL
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Max. size

40.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 3417))
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Diagnostic Description

Scales restricted to posterior half of the body. Posterior tip of pectoral fin reaching origin of pelvic fin.
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

benthopelagic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); brackish; marine; depth range 50 - ? m (Ref. 9987)
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Depth range based on 1 specimen in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 472 - 472
  Temperature range (°C): 11.059 - 11.059
  Nitrate (umol/L): 25.397 - 25.397
  Salinity (PPS): 34.465 - 34.465
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.614 - 1.614
  Phosphate (umol/l): 2.059 - 2.059
  Silicate (umol/l): 57.898 - 57.898
 
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Migration

Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Trophic Strategy

Found in sandy-muddy bottoms shallower than 50 m depth (Ref. 41299). Inhabit deep water offshore for most of the year, but also gathers in large shoals in deltas of rivers to feed during monsoons (Ref. 9987). An aggressive predator (Ref. 9987).
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Diseases and Parasites

Diphyllobothrium Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Harpadon nehereus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 33
Specimens with Barcodes: 45
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Harpadon nehereus

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


There are 7 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CTCTACCTCGTATTCGGTGCATGAGCTGGAATAGTGGGAACCGCCCTG---AGCCTCTTGATCCGTGCTGAGCTAAGCCAGCCGGGGGCCCTGCTCGGTGAT---GATCAAATTTATAACGTAATCGTTACTGCCCACGCCTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATACCAATTATAATCGGGGGCTTTGGAAATTGACTCATCCCTCTGATG---ATCGGTGCCCCCGATATGGCGTTCCCCCGAATGAACAACATGAGCTTCTGACTCCTCCCACCCTCTTTCCTTCTTCTCTTGGCATCATCGGGAGTCGAAGCAGGGGCTGGAACCGGCTGAACAGTCTATCCCCCGTTAGCGGGAAACCTTGCTCACGCTGGAGCCTCTGTGGATCTA---ACCATCTTCTCGCTTCACCTGGCTGGAATCTCCTCTATTTTGGGGGCCATTAATTTTATTACGACAATTATCAATATAAAACCTCCCGCCATTTCACAATACCAGACACCCCTCTTTGTCTGAGCTGTACTGATTACGGCTGTCCTTCTCCTCCTCTCCTTACCCGTTCTTGCAGCT---GGAATCACAATGCTCTTAACTGATCGAAATCTTAATACCACCTTCTTTGACCCTGCAGGGGGCGGCGATCCCATCCTCTATCAGCACTTA
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: highly commercial; price category: low; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species
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Wikipedia

Bombay duck

The Bombay duck or bummalo (Harpadon nehereus, Bengali: bamaloh or loytta, Gujarati: bumla, Marathi: bombil, Sinhala: bombeli, Urdu: بمبل مچھلی) is, despite its name, not a duck but a lizardfish. It is native to the waters between Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and Kutch in the Arabian Sea, and a small number are also found in the Bay of Bengal. Great numbers are also caught in the South China Sea. The fish is often dried and salted before it is consumed, as its meat does not have a distinctive taste of its own. After drying, the odour of the fish is extremely powerful, and it is usually transported in air-tight containers. Fresh fish are usually fried and served as a starter. In Mumbai, Konkan, and the western coastal areas in India, this dish is popularly known as "Bombil fry".

Etymology[edit]

Bombay duck on display for sale in a street fish market in Mumbai

The origin of the term "Bombay duck" is uncertain. One popular etymology relates to railways. The shoals of fish around the Eurasian continent were separated when the Indian plate moved into it, dividing the species along the coasts of eastern and western India. When the rail links started on the Indian subcontinent, people from eastern Bengal were made aware of the great availability of the locally prized fish on India's western coasts and began importing them by the railways. Since the smell of the dried fish was overpowering, its transportation was later consigned to the mail train; the Bombay Mail (or Bombay Daak) thus reeked of the fish smell and "You smell like the Bombay Daak" was a common term in use in the days of the British Raj. In Bombay, the local English speakers then called it so, but it was eventually corrupted into "Bombay duck". Nonetheless, the Oxford English Dictionary dates "Bombay duck" to at least 1850, two years before the first railroad in Bombay was constructed, making this explanation unlikely.[1][2]

According to local Bangladeshi stories,[citation needed] the term Bombay duck was first coined by Robert Clive, after he tasted a piece during his conquest of Bengal. It is said that he associated the pungent smell with that of the newspapers and mail which would come into the cantonments from Bombay. The term was later popularized among the British public by its appearance in Indian restaurants in the UK.

In his 1829 book of poems and "Indian reminiscences", Sir Toby Rendrag (pseudonym) notes the "use of a fish nick-named 'Bombay Duck'"[3] and the phrase is used in texts as early as 1815.[4]

European Union import restrictions[edit]

In 1997, Bombay duck was banned by the European Commission (EC) of the European Union. The EC admitted that it had no "sanitary" evidence against the product and the UK Public Health Laboratory Service confirmed no cases of food poisoning had been recorded, or bacterial contamination had not been associated with Bombay duck. It was banned because the EC only allows fish imports from India from approved freezing and canning factories, and Bombay duck is not produced in factories. Before the ban, consumption in the United Kingdom was over 13 tonnes per year.

According to the "Save Bombay Duck" campaign,[5] the Indian High Commission approached the European Commission about the ban. The EC adjusted the regulations so that the fish can still be dried in the open air, but has to be packed in an "EC approved" packing station. A Birmingham wholesale merchant located a packing source in Mumbai, and the product became available again in the United Kingdom.

Bombay duck is available fresh in Canada in cities with large Indian populations, such as Toronto and Montreal, and is generally known as bumla. Although mainly popular with Indians from Bengal, southern Gujarat, coastal Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka, it is increasingly consumed by the other South Asian populations, Bangladeshis in particular.

References[edit]

  1. ^ duck, n.1. Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989; online version December 2011. Accessed 2 February 2012.
  2. ^ IR History: Early Days - I. Indian Railways Fan Club website. Accessed 2 February 2012.
  3. ^ Toby Rendrag (sir, pseud.), Poems, original, lyrical, and satirical, containing Indian reminiscences of the late sir Toby Rendrag, Publ. 1829 W. Boyls page 26
  4. ^ A. Clark, William Combe, Paddy Hew: a poem : from the brain of Timothy Tarpaulin, Printed for Whittingham and Arliss, 1815, 195 pages, page 86
  5. ^ "Save Bombay Duck". Bombay-duck.co.uk. 2003-12-16. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
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