Striped Snakehead

Snakehead fishes, also known as Channidae, are a family of freshwater fish found in Africa and Asia, including India. They are known for their distinctive elongated body shape and sharp-toothed mouth, resembling that of a snake, which gives them their common name. Snakehead fishes are apex predators and can grow up to 1.5 meters in length and weigh up to 20 kg. They are valued as food fish and are considered a delicacy in some parts of Asia, including India. The most commonly found species in India is the Giant Snakehead, scientifically known as Channa marulius, which is a popular game fish and is prized for its hard-fighting nature. The Snakehead fish is also a popular aquarium fish due to its unique appearance and aggressive behavior. However, some species of Snakehead fish have been introduced outside their natural range and have become invasive, causing ecological and economic damage. Therefore, it is essential to monitor their distribution and prevent the spread of invasive species to protect the native ecosystems.

The Striped Snakehead Fish, scientifically known as Channa striata, is a freshwater fish species found in South and Southeast Asia, including India. It is a medium-sized fish that can grow up to 1 meter in length and weigh up to 5 kg. The fish has a distinctive striped pattern on its body, which gives it its common name. The Striped Snakehead Fish is a voracious predator and feeds on a variety of aquatic animals, including fish, insects, and crustaceans. It is an important food fish in some regions and is also popular among anglers due to its hard-fighting nature.

hanna Striata

Serial No.CharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameSnakehead fish or Ceylon Combtail
2Scientific nameChanna striata
3ColourDark green to brown with white or yellowish underbelly
4Average length in mCan grow up to 1 meter in length
5Average weight in kgsCan weigh up to 5 kilograms
6Found in river systems ofFound in freshwater rivers, lakes, and swamps in South and Southeast Asia, including the Mekong and Chao Phraya river basins
7HabitatPrefers slow-moving and standing waters with muddy or weedy substrates and submerged logs
8Any special characteristicsHas a large mouth with sharp teeth, and a long dorsal fin running the length of the body. Can breathe air through a modified gill chamber known as a suprabranchial organ, which allows it to survive in oxygen-poor environments for extended periods.


Channa Striata, also known as the Striped Snakehead or Haruan, is a species of fish belonging to the family Channidae. Channa Striata has a long, cylindrical body with a flattened head and a tapered tail. Its body is covered with large scales, and its coloration ranges from olive green to brown with a series of dark, horizontal stripes on its sides. It has a large mouth with sharp teeth and a distinctive black spot on its gill cover.

Channa Striata can grow up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) in length and weigh up to 10 kg (22 lbs), although the average size is typically smaller.

Channa Striata is known for its impressive swimming speed, reaching up to 60 km/h (37 mph) for short bursts. It is also capable of leaping out of the water to catch prey. It is a carnivorous species that feeds on fish, crustaceans, insects, and other aquatic organisms. It is an opportunistic feeder and can consume prey that is up to half its size.

Channa Striata is an important food fish in Southeast Asia and is also popular among anglers for sport fishing. It is believed to have medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.


 It can be found in a wide range of aquatic habitats. It prefers slow-moving or stagnant waters, such as rivers, lakes, ponds, and swamps, with a muddy or sandy bottom and dense vegetation cover. It can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, including low oxygen levels and high temperatures. Channa Striata is often found in shallow water near the banks of rivers or in flooded fields, where it can hunt for prey and avoid predators. It is also an adaptable species and can survive in man-made environments such as rice paddies, canals, and reservoirs. 

River System

The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna River System is the largest in India and is home to a diverse range of aquatic species, including Channa striata. The river system starts in the Himalayas and flows through several states in northern and eastern India, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam. The river system has many tributaries, and Channa striata can be found in several of them, such as the Yamuna, Ghaghara, Gandak, Kosi, and Brahmaputra rivers.

Godavari River is the second-longest river in India and flows through several states in southern and central India, including Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. The river is known for its rich biodiversity and is home to several fish species, including Channa striata.

Krishna River is another important river in southern India that flows through several states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. The river is known for its significant role in agriculture and is home to several fish species, including Channa striata.

Cauvery River is a major river in southern India that flows through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The river is known for its importance in agriculture and is home to several fish species, including Channa striata.

Mahanadi and Brahmani Rivers are located in the eastern Indian state of Odisha and flow into the Bay of Bengal. They are important for agriculture and are also home to several fish species, including Channa striata.

Threatened Status

Channa Striata is not currently considered to be a threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, the population of Channa Striata is declining in some regions due to overfishing, habitat loss, and degradation. In some areas, the introduction of non-native fish species has also harmed Channa Striata populations. Additionally, pollution, dam construction, and other human activities can have detrimental effects on the species and its habitat.

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