Malabar Snakehead – Profile | Traits | Facts | Diet | Behavior

Malabar Snakehead
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Malabar Snakehead, scientific name Channa diplogramma is big, which is almost 44 cm, is a snakehead species native to a small part of India. Although this fish grows not as massive as its cousin Channa micropeltes it isn’t fairly appropriate for a non-public aquarium.

Malabar Snakehead Profile

Channa, generally generally known as Snakeheads, are primitive predatory fish and members of the family Channidae.

They are a bunch of perciform (perch-like) fishes whose affinities are unknown, though current research on the molecular phylogeny of bony fishes thinks about snakeheads as most carefully associated with the labyrinth fishes (anabantoids) and the synbranchiform eels, which embody the spiny eels.

The totally different species of Channa fluctuate in size significantly. The time period dwarf snakeheads are coined by aquarists to explain a bunch of Channa species rising solely 25 centimeters: Channa bleheri, Channa cachua, Channa orientalis, and Channa andrao.

These species are best suited for maintaining in an aquarium due to their size and their relative docile temperament.

Most of the species develop to the most size of 30-90 centimeters. Besides size, this intermediate class incorporates probably the most range in behavior since a few of the species are carefully associated with the dwarf species, and a few relate more to the class of monster fish.

5 species (A. argus. C. barca, C. marulius, C. micropeltes and C. striata) may even develop as much as 100 cm and even bigger and will be thought-about monster fish which might be barely appropriate for aquaria.


Fossiles dated from 50 million years ago point out an origin within the southern Himalayas (India and East Pakistan). From 15 million years ago ended on, the animals have unfolded by the increasing intertropical local weather zone to components of Europe, Africa, and bigger components of Asia.

Malabar Snakehead Identification

The Malabar snakehead differs from all different species within the genus by its high variety of lateral line scales (103–105 vs. 36–91).

It further differs from all different Channa species, besides C. bankanensis, C. lucius, C. micropeltes and C. pleurophthalma, by the presence of gular scales, a patch of scales between the anterior suggestions of the lower jaws, seen in ventral view. C. diplogramma differs from C. bankanensis, C. lucius, and C. pleurophtalma by having a really totally different color pattern, and from its sister species C. micropellets by a mix of traits, viz. variety of caudal fin rays, lateral line scales, scales under lateral line; total vertebrae, pre-anal size, and body depth.


The genus Channa incorporates 31 species which might be native all through Asia from are native from southeastern Iran and eastern Afghanistan eastward via Pakistan, India, southern Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Sumatra, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, and China northward into Siberia. 3 species of the carefully associated genera Parachanna are native to components of Africa.

Malabar Snakehead Physical Description

Channa has an elongated body and is distinguished by their long dorsal fins massive mouths stuffed with teeth. They earn their frequent name Snakehead due to their flattened form and the scales on their heads which might be harking back to the big epidermal scales on snakes.

Channa has gills to breathe water like most different fish. However, subadults and adults may breathe air to complement their demand for oxygen. Snakeheads are the truth is compulsory air breathers and will need to have air from the floor in any other case they’ll drown.

Malabar Snakehead, Channa diplogramma

Unlike many different airbreathing fishes, channa has a collection of cavities within the rear part of their head. These suprabranchial chambers are crammed with folded tissues that have high floor space, and permit oxygen change to happen immediately between air and their blood.

Unlike mammals, they lack a diaphragm and use water to exchange old air with recent air every time they take a breath. Thus, their potential to breathe air when out of the water is proscribed. They seem to breathe air more often when swimming actively.

The genera Parachanna (native to components of Africa) is described other than the genera Channa due to a more primitive implementation of the airbreathing part.

Snakeheads are identified to emigrate over quick distances overland to search out different water basins, utilizing the power to breathe air. When transferring over the land they curve their body in an S form first, before launching themselves ahead by a robust stretch.

In high humidity situations, Malabar Snakehead is ready to survive from 2 as much as 4 days out of the water. When positioned in direct daylight, nonetheless, they desiccate and perish in minutes to a number of hours.

In opposite to what’s believed, Snakeheads aren’t identified to go away the water for any cause apart from making their means back to the water after flooding.

The solely true Snakeheads to actively depart the water are a few of the smaller species, C. gachau and C. orientalis, C. asiatica, and C. amphibious, and nonetheless, there should be an apparent cause for the change.

Snakeheads are in a position to stay in various water situations. Some species are certain to a subtropical local weather zone. For good health, these species require cooler water temperatures., at the very least for a seasonal interval.

Most snakeheads can tolerate a really massive range of water parameters (temperature, PH, GH, level oxygen). However, they’re very weak in case of sudden modifications.

Malabar Snakehead, Channa diplogramma

Malabar Snakehead Behavior

Malabar Snakehead is predatory fish that prey within the juvenile stadium on plankton, bugs, and snails. While they develop the bigger species change in direction of a menu that consists primarily of fish, frogs, crabs, shrimps, small aquatic mammals, and birds.

Before maturity, most Channa species hunt in teams. When changing into sexually mature they start a solitary life and develop a high level of aggression towards their very own species and different fish. When a pair has shaped most species don’t tolerate different fish.

Malabar Snakehead just isn’t lively swimmers and, when not feeding, tends to maneuver solely when surfacing for air.

They spend loads of time hovering in midwater or resting on the underside inside cover as ambush predators. Some larges snakeheads nonetheless stay a more pelagic life and are far more lively swimmers.

All snakeheads are able to highly effective bursts of acceleration. They curve their body in an S-shape and launch themselves ahead by stretching.

Parental care is a behavioral attribute of Snakeheads. Both parents defend and guard their younger vigorously. The majority of the species guard their eggs on the floor of the water. Some of the smaller species are mouthbrooder. Only some species are holebrooders.

Amongst specialist aquarists, Malabar Snakehead is a popular -oddball- aquarium fish. Snakeheads are elegant, alert, intelligent, restful, and highly effective fish, with numerous personalities.

Their communication with conspecifics their searching skills and breeding behavior is fascinating. Some aquarists even specialize themselves by dedicating their massive fish tank to the biggest specimens.

Sometimes they keep a pet-like reference to their monster fish. Some uncommon and attractively marked species (like C. Barca) belong to the most costly aquarium fish within the commerce.

Some Snakeheads display appreciable modifications in color patterns whereas rising. In the early days of classification of fish species, this shaped loads of confusion since in that day’s color was nonetheless thought-about a criterium for classification.

Malabar Snakehead, Channa diplogramma

Besides some dwarf species, many juveniles are more attractively marked than adults. With age species typically develop a browner, more drab look.

Because of this phenomenon, some aquarists lose curiosity within the fish whereas it grows. Those contemplating their first buy ought to be nicely conscious of what they’re moving into.

Because of its predatory nature, not one of the Snakeheads is an acceptable selection for a community tank. Most of the species will shortly empty a normal community tank with smaller fish. Thus a devoted aquarium is required for maintaining snakeheads.

Aquarists have very diverse experiences when it comes to combining Channa species with different strong fish species. In normal, most species are in all probability greatest stored alone.

The level of tolerance in direction of different fish varies per species but additionally appears to fluctuate per specimen or a particular state of affairs.

Combining Malabar Snakehead with different aggressive and territorial fish species, like members of the Cichlidae family is a strategy that doesn’t work out nicely.

A Channa that’s intimidated will disguise, attempt to escape the tank, and refuse to eat.

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