Species: Channa Lucius
Common name: Forest snakehead or Splendid Snakehead. Thai Name: Pla Ka Song
Distribution: The Forest Snakehead is found throughout Asia, in Thailand, Japan, southern China, Viet Nam, Taiwan and in the Philippines.
Habitat: They inhabit the silty weedy bottoms of still water, but also slow-running rivers; with lots of caves and aquatic vegetation to hide in.
The Forest Snakehead is a smaller member of the Channidae snakehead family of fish; which are an extremely aggressive predatory fish species. It is able to breathe atmospheric air which allows the species to survive in moist conditions outside water over long periods. A Forest Snakehead is well camouflaged, covered in a brown fine mesh-like scaling which displays two rows of dark colored blotches on its lateral surface, and have a large broad head with short snout and are equipped with a hinged protractile mouth with extended lower jaw. A streamlined freshwater predator, which favors ambush attacks on its unsuspecting prey from amongst submerged structures and aquatic vegetation. They feed on small fish, shrimps and also frogs.
The exact breeding time depends on the region. They live as a couple, nesting near pond dikes, rice farms and rivers. Parents build bubble nests, in shallow freshwater areas amid plants and lay their eggs below. They usually remove all aquatic plants to make a nest 0.4 – 0.6 m2 large to spawn. The eggs float on the surface and stick to each other. Both male and female, stay around the nest to, protect and nurse their young. Until they can search for food and escape from enemies by themselves. At times of spawning and hatching the adult Forest Snakehead becomes highly protective and aggressive. So they are attacking anything that threatens the newly hatched young.
Size: Max size for this snakehead species is 40 cm SL. The world record caught in Cheow Lan Reservoir, Khao Sok National Park 2007 weighed 1.85 kg (4 lb 1oz).
Fishing method: The best fishing areas in the lake are usually water with weedy and growing vegetation. It is a species that also can be found far up in the rivers; where they like to hang out in the pools and the still water after the rapids. They take surface lures, diving lures, popper flies and smaller streamers. Live bait like frogs and fish are also very productive.
Sexing: There are no apparent sexual differences, when they are sexually mature and pair up the female is the largest.