Giant Featherback – Freshwater Fish Species in Thailand

Species: Chitala lopis.

Common names: Giant Featherback, Indonesian Featherback, Black Featherback and Knifefish. Thai Name: Pla Satu.

giant_featherbackDistribution: Giant Featherback is found in Southeast Asia, including Indochina, Borneo, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Java in Indonesia.

Habitat: Found in lakes and the slow running water found at river mouths and also in forest-covered streams. Where there hiding among submerged roots and rocks!

The Giant Featherback

Is a member of the Notopteridae species (meaning “back fin”). Featherback or knifefish are a family of bony-tongues (Osteoglossiformes). The bony-tongues are a primitive but highly successful family of fishes which have been on earth for 200 million years or more. Their shape gives them their common name Knifefish. Chitala lopis or the Giant Featherback is a fish of the genus Chitala found in Southeast Asia.

With the denotation of “knifefish” the Notopteridae should not be confused with Gymnotiformes, the electric knifefish.  Although their manner of swimming is similar, the two groups are not closely related. The name is from Greek noton meaning “back” and pteron meaning “fin”. They have a slender, elongated, bodies, which giving them a knife-like appearance, the body color is silver to bronze body with a dark or brown back, long brown caudal fin and a silvery white belly. The caudal fin is small and fused with the anal fin, which runs most of the length of the body. Where present, the dorsal fin is small and narrow; giving rise to the common name of “Featherback”. The fish swims by holding its body rigid and rippling the anal fin to propel itself forward or backwards.

The Notopterids species

Have specialized swim bladders, its organ extends throughout the body and even into the fins in some cases; although the swim bladder is not highly vascularised. It can absorb oxygen from air and also functions to produce sound; by squeezing air through a narrow passage into the pharynx. Some species prepare nests and guard the eggs until they hatch.

Size: It can be up to about 25 kg. (55lbs.) and 1.5 m. in length, the world record is 9.8 kg (21,5lbs)

Fishing method: Giant Featherback can be caught by fishing with live bait, small fish, shrimp, but also lure fishing with small minnows, spinners and spoons.

Sexing: Males have a larger and slimmer body, compared to the females. During the spawning period females have a more rounded abdomen.

Source: WikipediaFishbase

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