Latin name

Channa striata

Other names

Common snakehead, chevron snakehead, snakehead murrel, mudfish.


It is a bony fish with an endoskeletal thorax. Body subcylindrical, head depressed, caudal fin rounded. Large head, resembling the head of a snake. Mouth wide open, full of teeth. Very large scales.

Features of fish fins

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 38-43; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 23-27.

Fish colouring

Adults are dark brown in color with barely visible black stripes across the body. 


The range is extensive in southern China, Pakistan, most of India, southern Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and most of Southeast Asia. More recently, it has been introduced into remote areas of Indonesia, the Philippines and Mauritius. 


Freshwater, brackish, benthopelagic, pH range: 7.0 - 8.0, potamodromous. Depth range 1-10 m, usually 1-2 m. Tropical: 23°C - 27°C. Widespread: 35°N to 18°S.


Can reach one meter in length, although this size is rarely seen in the wild due to fishing. Typical length: 61.0 cm. Maximum reported weight: 3.0 kg.


Widespread in freshwater plains where they migrate from rivers and lakes to flooded fields. They then return to permanent water bodies during the dry season, where they survive by burrowing in silt.

Food and feeding habits

Preys on frogs, water bugs, and smaller fish, and attacks anything that moves during the breeding season.


Both males and females build nests of aquatic vegetation during the breeding season. The young are reddish-orange and are guarded by both parents until they turn greenish-brown at a depth of about 5-6 cm. It breeds in ditches, ponds and flooded rice fields. In captivity, during mating, as soon as the male leans toward the female, the fish milk are released following the ovipositors.


Highly profitable fishing.

Relationship with a person

It is an important food fish throughout its natural range and of significant economic importance. It is used in aquariums. Potential pest.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Anabantiformes
Family Channidae
Genus Channa
Species C. striata
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg 3
Maximum length, cm 61
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Striped snakehead

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