Channa argus is a freshwater fish of the snakehead family. The body is elongated. There is a labyrinthine organ. The mouth is large, armed with numerous teeth. Dorsal and anal fins are long. Inhabits in China and the Korean peninsula. A subspecies of C. argus warpachowsky lives in the Amur River. Body length up to 1 m, weight 7-8 kg. It prefers areas of water bodies (channels, bays) overgrown with aquatic vegetation with low oxygen content. It is able to breathe atmospheric air. Breeds in summer, June-July. Spawning is portioned. Mature in the third year of life. Fecundity up to 50 thousand eggs. Predator, feeds on fish, frogs. Commercial fish. Object of pond cultivation in Ukraine, Krasnodar Krai, Moscow and Novosibirsk regions.
The body of Channa argus is elongated, cylindrical in the middle part, compressed from sides in the caudal part. The head is large, flattened in dorso-ventral direction, in shape resembles the head of a snake. The head and body are covered with cycloid scales. Eyes displaced toward the end of the snout. The mouth is large, terminal, with the posterior edge of the upper jaw extending beyond the edge of the eye. The long dorsal fin has 50-53 soft rays. The anal fin has 33-38 soft rays. The caudal fin is rounded. The body is brown in color, covered with dark brown irregularly shaped spots. Two dark stripes run from the eye to the edge of the gill cover. Large fish up to 1 m or more in length, reaches a weight exceeding 10 kg. Holds strongly overgrown areas of water bodies in shallow waters. Got its name due to the flattened scaly head.
It reaches sexual maturity at two years of age with a body length of 30-35 cm. Spawns in June-July at water temperatures of 20-26 °C. Fecundity is 20-120 thousand eggs. Builds a nest up to 1 m in diameter from plants. Eggs have a fat drop, so they float slightly and develop in the water column. Both parents guard the nest, with fins creating a water current for normal aeration of developing eggs. The fry are also guarded.
Channa argus is an ambush predator that feeds on small fish, frogs, insect larvae and mayflies during their mass swarming period.
A commercial species. It is actively dispersing. In a number of countries, it is recognized as a harmful species due to the rapid settlement of water bodies and the extermination of so-called "white" fish. In 2013, snakeheads unexpectedly appeared in the United States, where the capture of these fish was authorized, and in some states it is forbidden to keep these fish in captivity. All these measures are taken to prevent disturbance of the ecological balance in the states of Maryland, Florida and California due to their survival and aggressiveness, as the local ichthyofauna cannot resist the new predator.
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