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Channa burmanica Chaudhuri, 1919
Burmese Snakehead

Channa burmanica - Burmese Snakehead - click to enlarge

After Chaudhuri, 1919

Left: dorsal view; Right: ventral view

Original description: Channa burmanica Chaudhuri, 1919:284-286, fig. 4. Report on a small collection of fish from Putao (Hkamti Long) on the northern frontier of Burma. Records of the Indian Museum 16:271-287. Type locality: Putao Plains of northern Myanmar, river Sen-Ben-Ti. Holotype: ZSI F9755.

Synonyms: Synonyms unknown.

Common name: Burmese snakehead.

         Native range: Endemic to headwaters (Kiu River, perhaps Lang basin) of the Ayeyarwaddy (=Irrawaddy) River in northern Myanmar, between the Kumon and Shan-ngaw mountain ranges.

         Introduced range: No introductions known.

         Size: Maximum size unknown. Chaudhuris (1919) largest specimen (one of four) was 106 cm total length. The species doubtlessly reaches a greater length, but cannot be considered as one of the moderate-to-large snakehead species.

         Habitat preference: No specific information in Chaudhuris (1919) publication.

         Temperature range: No specific information. The type locality (Putao Plains) is about 27o N, indicating a subtropical to warm temperate species.

         Reproductive habits: No specific information. The Burmese snakehead may show reproductive habits similar to its closest relative, Channa bleheri.

         Feeding habits: No specific information. Perhaps similar to that of Channa bleheri.

         Characters: No area of scales in the gular region. No pelvic fins. Dorsal rays 38; anal rays 28. Lateral line scales 51 (50 pored scales), with lateral line dipping ventrally after the 12th scale (scale in disjunction without pore). Predorsal scales 8.

         This species appears to be most closely related to Channa bleheri (Peter Ng, personal commun., in Vierke, 1991b). See account for C. bleheri for species differences.

         Commercial importance in the United States: None known.

         Commercial importance in native range: Unknown.

         Environmental concerns: Doubtlessly a predator and likely feeding on other fishes. Like Channa bleheri, this species has potential to establish in much of peninsular Florida, Hawaii, perhaps southern Texas, and thermal springs and their outflows in the American west if introduced.

Distribution of Channa burmanica - click to enlarge


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