Orangespotted snakehead

Channa aurantimaculata family

Channidae taxonomy

Channa aurantimaculata Musikasinthorn, 2000, Dibrugarh, Assam, India.

other common names

Assamese: Naga cheng.

physical characteristics

Maximum length 19.7 in (50 cm). Has two large scales on each side of lower jaw undersurface, scales relatively large (LL= 51-54), black spot at the base of the pectoral fins with five vivid black vertical broad bands, and relatively small pelvic fins (less than half of pectoral fins). Very colorful, upper half of body dark brown to black, with seven or eight large irregular orange blotches, becoming yellow, golden, or orange below, and changing to blue ventrally, with many scattered small black spots.


Known only from Dibrugarh (Brahmaputra River basin), Northern Assam, India.


Streams, swamps, and ponds probably throughout the region's discontinuous patches of tropical rainforest.


Effectively transverses wet terrestrial environments.

feeding ecology and diet

Nothing known.

Channa striata Channa bleheri Channa aurantimaculata habitat

Forest streams, swamps, and ponds connected with the Brahmaputra River.


Highly capable of terrestrial movement. feeding ecology and diet

Nothing known, but is probably a predator feeding on insects, crustaceans, and small fishes.

reproductive biology

The species guards the eggs, which float at the water surface. conservation status

Not threatened, but because of its relatively small, highly restricted distribution, along with its popularity among aquarists, there is a possibility that over-collecting of natural populations may cause a serious decline in the future.

significance to humans

Due to some spiritual reasons, not considered a food fish by the local Assam populace (the Assamese common name means "ghost [or spirit] snakehead"); a popular aquarium fish. ♦

reproductive biology

Nothing known.

conservation status Not listed by the IUCN.

significance to humans

Sold in local markets as food fish; also known as an aquarium fish. ♦

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