Emperor Snakehead – Channa Marulioides

Species: Channa marulioides.

Common name: Emperor Snakehead, Dark-fin Snakehead, Flower Snakehead, Toman Bunga.

Thai Name: Pla Chon kha luang.

Distribution: Native to the freshwater habitats in southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Greater Sunda Islands (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Celebes).

Habitat: Emperor Snakehead prefer larger slow-flowing rivers, lakes and swamps including sluggish flowing canals at a depth of around 0,5-2 m. They migrate into flooded fields and return to the permanent water bodies in the dry season. Like other Snakehead species, it can survive the dry season by burrowing in bottom mud of swamps, lakes and canals. As long as their skin and air-breathing apparatus remain moist, they can subsist on their stored fat.

Emperor Snakehead – Channa Marulioides - Thai FishingEmperor Snakehead (Channa marulioides)

This Snakehead fish species can you find in the south Thai Jungle waters, a freshwater fish species in the Snakehead family (Channidae). Adults exist in several colour and pattern variations, depending on locality. The most common in Thailand, are brownish base / gold colour with a series of dark, chevron-like markings on each side. With small white spots on their dark ventral and dorsal fins, as well on the tail. They have a white belly and forward-facing reddish eyes. Very similar to the Great Snakehead (Channa marulius), but they do not have the orange / black, bulls’ eye on the tail.

Both parents help to construct a nest out of water vegetation and frothy bubbles of saliva from the male, during breeding time. Eggs and fry are guarded by both parents, they will protect the breeding area from anything that comes too close. The fry have a brownish color and are guarded by both parents until they turn black / brown at around 2–3 cm.in length Emperor Snakehead have a more varied diet than Cobra or Giant Snakehead. they prey on frogs, water bugs, and smaller fish.

Size: The species does not grow very large. A 2kg specimen is a trophy catch! The IGFA record is 3.95 kg (8 lb 11 oz). Caught in Sungai Pejing, Maran, Pahang, Malaysia, 20-Sep-2009

Fishing method: The best fishing areas are usually water with weedy and growing vegetation. They take surface lures, diving lures, popper flies and smaller streamers. Live bait like small frogs and fish are also very productive. An ambush predator they like submerged cut roots, snags and obstacles which provide good cover for ambushes.

Sexing: There are no apparent sexual differences, though when they are sexually mature and pair up the female is the largest.

Source: SeriouslyfishFishbase

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