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Channa nox Zhang, Musikasinthorn, and Watanabe, 2002
Night Snakehead

Channa nox - Night Snakehead - click to enlarge

    Purchased from a live-food fish market at Mong Kok, Hong Kong. Photograph by Heok Hui Tan.

Original description: Channa nox Zhang, Musikasinthorn, and Watanabe, 2002:140-146. Channa nox, a new channid fish lacking a pelvic fin from Guangxi, China. Ichthyological Research 49(2):140-146. Type locality: Nanliu River basin, vicinity of Hepu, Guangxi Province, China. Holotype: IOZCAS (Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences) 70028. Paratypes: IOZCAS 69848; IOZCAS 69849; IOZCAS 70029; IOZCAS 70039; and IOZCAS 70042.

Synonyms: No synonyms.

Common names: None in English. We propose night snakehead based on the dark coloration of the fish.


         Native range: Southern China, near Hepu, Guangzi Province, specifically the lower Nanlui Jiang River, where its range overlaps that of its nearest congener, Channa asiatica. Peter Ng (personal commun., 2003) found this snakehead in live-food fish markets in Guangzhou, China, and Hong Kong in July 2000.

         Introduced range: No introductions known.

         Size: Reported to almost 20 cm (Zhang and others, 2002), but probably attains a larger size.

         Habitat preference: Zhang and others (2002) reported the species from humid rainforest conditions. Appears to be a riverine species.

         Temperature range: No information available. Nevertheless, distribution within native range (21-32o N) indicates a warm temperate to subtropical species.

         Reproductive habits: No information available concerning reproduction in natural habitats, but likely a nest builder like most snakeheads. There are indications that the male of the most closely related species, Channa asiatica is perhaps a mouthbrooder. Whether such behavior applies to C. nox is unknown.

         Feeding habits: No information available, but likely a thrust predator as is its closest relative, Channa asiatica.

         Characters: Gular region of head with one to two scales on either side of underside of lower jaw. Pelvic fins absent. Head small, rounded. Dorsal fin rays 47-51; anal fin rays 31-33. Lateral line scales 55-63; 5.5-6.5 scales above lateral line; check scales 9-13. Total vertebrae 53-55. Large ocellus, black with white rim, on caudal peduncle. This species is most closely related to Channa asiatica which also lacks pelvic fins and has 49-53 vertebrae, 41-47 dorsal fin rays and 28-32 anal fin rays. Channa nox also differs in having a shorter predorsal length (26.9-28.4 percent) and snout length (3.6-5.1 percent). Live coloration also differs from C. asiatica in that C. nox is dark on the upper half of the body and the ocellus on the caudal peduncle lacks a white rim.

         Commercial importance in the United States: None.

         Commercial importance in native range: Available in local markets in Hepu, Guangxi Province, southern China (Zhang and others, 2002). Also reported as available in markets in Ghangzhou and Hong Kong (Peter Ng, personal commun., 2003).

         Environmental concerns: Likely a thrust predator on other fishes and invertebrates like other snakeheads.

Distribution of Channa nox - click to enlarge

 

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