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Channa bankanensis (Bleeker, 1852)
Bangka Snakehead

Channa bankanensis - Bangka Snakehead - click to enlarge

    Reprinted with permission from P.K.L. Ng from: Lee, P.G., and P.K.L. Ng. 1991. The snakehead fishes of the Indo-Malayan region. Nature Malaysiana 16(4):112-129.

Channa bankanensis - Bangka Snakehead - click to enlarge

After Bleeker, 1878

Original description: Ophiocephalus bankanensis Bleeker, 1852:726. Nieuwe bijdrage tot de kenne der ichthyolische fauna van het eiland Banka. Natuurkd. Tijdrschr. Neder. Indi 3:715-738. Type locality: Bangka Island, Malaysia. Locality of holotype unknown.

Synonyms: No known synonyms (Ng and Lim, 1990).

Common names: Bangka (or Banka) snakehead; runtuk (Kalimantan).


         Native range: Sumatra: southeastern rivers (Hari and Musi basins) of mainland; Bangka Island; rivers of central, southern, and western Kalimantan (southern Borneo; Roberts, 1989; Ng and Lim, 1991; Kottelat and others, 1993); peat swamps of Selangor, peninsular Malaysia (Lee and Ng, 1991).

         Introduced Range: No introductions known.

         Size: No specific information; Musikasinthorn (2000) examined specimens up to 14 cm standard length.

         Habitat preference: Prefers submerged vegetation in tannin and humic acid enriched backwaters (pH 2.8-3.8) and moderately fast-flowing streams in peat swamps (Lee and Ng, 1991; Ng and Lim, 1991). Also found in mouths and middle reaches of rivers (Lee and Ng, 1994).

         Temperature range: Preferred range 26-30 oC (Lee and Ng, 1994).

         Reproductive habits: No specific information, but likely a nest builder with pelagic eggs.

         Feeding habits: No specific information, but probably a carnivorous predator.

         Characters: Patch of scales present on gular part of head. Large canine-like teeth on prevomer and palatines. Lateral line scales 55-68; scale rows between lateral line and dorsal origin 41/2; scale rows below lateral line and anal fin origin 7-9; preopercular scales 5-10. Dorsal fin rays 31-45, anal fin rays 20-31. Superficially resembles Channa lucius, head taller and more blunt in C. bankanensis (see Ng and Lim, 1990, p. 142, fig. 5C, D), and body more compressed in C. lucius (Lee and Ng, 1991). Somewhat rounded, dark blotch on operculum of adult, not elongated as in C. lucius (Ng and Lim, 1990).

         Commercial importance in the United States: Not listed on aquarist-oriented websites.

         Commercial importance in native range: Probably not of commercial importance due to habitat preferences. Lee and Ng (1991) stated that this species is not popular with local anglers due to its small size.

         Environmental concerns: Unknown, but probably a predator on other fishes and invertebrates. Habitat preferences indicate the species might only become problematic in highly acidic waters. Stoye (1935) mentioned availability of this species as an aquarium fish.

Distribution of Channa Bankanensis - click to enlarge

 

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