Finfish of Sundarban

Common Shark species found in and around Sundarbans:

Sl.No. Name Scientific Name
1 Indian Dog Shark [lower risk] Scoliodon laticaudus
2 White cheeked shark [lower risk] Carcharhinus dussumieri 
3 Blacktip shark  [lower risk] Carcharhinus limbatus 
4 Arrow headed hammer headed shark [vulnerable] Sphryna blochii 
5 Hammer headed shark [vulnerable] Sphryna zygaena  
6 River shark [Extremely endangered, Schedule I] Glyphis gangeticus
7 Sharpteeth shark Glyphis glyphis 
8 Irrawady river shark Glyphis siamensis  
9 Tiger shark [lower risk] Galeocerdo cuvier 
10 Bull shark  [lower risk] Carcharhinus leucus   
Few other common finfish of Indian Sundarbans

Sl. No. Name Characters Systematic position Economic importance
    1   Pisodonophis boro Common name: Bengal’s snake eel
  1. Elongated cylindrical body
  2. Snout subconical with short        lower jaw
  3. Dorsal fin originates behind the tip of pectoral fin and tail tip finless
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Anguilliformes
Family: Ophichthidae
    Low priced edible fish
    2   Escualosa thoracata Common name: White sardine  
  1. Body flattened and highly compressed and presence of sharp keeled belly
  2. Mouth terminal, upper jaw slightly notched, with two large supra-maxillae, the second being rectangular
  3. Dorsal fin originates at the mid portion of the body with 12 branched rays
    Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Clupeidae
Subfamily: Clupeinae
    Sold as trash fish
      3   Anguilla bengalensis Common name:
Long finned eel, locally called Baan mach  
  1. Snake like body, anteriorly cylindrical
  2. Rudimentary scales embedded in skin
  3. Dorsal fin long inserted near the tip of snout, midway between gill opening and anal fin base
  4. Absence of spine
  5. Long anal fin and caudal fin continued round the tail end 
      Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Anguilliformes
Family: Anguillidae        
      Consumed in fresh condition
    4   Tenualosa toli Common name: Toli shad, locally called Kajli ilish
  1. Fusiform body with prominent scales
  2. Upper jaw with distinct median notch
  3. Head covered with thick skin without striated fronto-parietal areas
  4. Absence of teeth on jaws
  5. Caudal fin longer than head
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Clupeidae
Subfamily: Alosinae
  Consumed in fresh condition
      5   Tenualosa ilisha Common name: Hilsa, locally called Ilish
  1. Fusiform body with prominent scales
  2. Upper jaw with prominent median notch
  3. Thick skin covering the top of head
  4. Absence of teeth on jaws
  5. Anal fin lies behind the dorsal fin and caudal fin as long as head
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Clupeidae
Subfamily: Alosinae
  Highly delicious and fetches high price
    6   Ilisha elongata Common name: Elongate ilisha
  1. Body is elongated and silvery
  2. Mouth is terminal in position
  3. Lower jaw projecting
  4. Pelvic fin small with no auxillary scales
  5. Belly strongly keeled
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Clupeidae
Subfamily: Alosinae
  It is rich in protein content and is of moderate importance
    7     Ilisha melastoma Common name: Indian ilish
  1. Slightly brownish colour body, but silvery
  2. Edge of dorsal fin with dark pigment
  3. Body is strongly compressed
  4. Belly with keeled scutes
  5. Dorsal fin origin nearer to snout tip than caudal fin base
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Clupeidae
Subfamily: Alosinae
  Occurs in small numbers but has high edible value
    8     Coilia dussumeri Common name: Gold-spotted grenadier anchovy
  1. Elongated body and tapering end
  2. Pointed snout
  3. Maxilla tip pointed and extending to gill opening
  4. Anal fin very long and confluent with caudal fin
  5. Dorsal fin originates near the tip of snout
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulididae
  Consumed in fresh condition
    9   Coilia ramcarati Common name: Tapertail anchovy
  1. Compressed body with tapering end
  2. Rounded belly
  3. A small spine before dorsal fin
  4. Long anal fin confluent with caudal fin
  5. Maxilla tip pointed
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulididae
  It forms the main anchovy fishery of Indian Sundarbans and consumed in fresh condition
    10   Setipinna phasa Common name: Gangetic anchovy, locally called Phasa
  1. Fusiform body
  2. Deeply compressed belly
  3. Supra maxilla absent
  4. First ray of pectoral fin filamentous
  5. Dorsal fin originates nearer to snout
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulididae
  Low priced edible fish, but constitue a good fishery, specially during winter fishery operations in the esturine region.
    11   Setipinna taty Common name: Hairfin anchovy
  1. Body is fusiform
  2. Snout is bluntly pointed
  3. Anal fin long
  4. First ray of pectoral fin filamentous in nature
  5. Gill rackers form distinct clumps
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulididae
  Low priced edible fish
      12   Stolephorus baganensis Common name: Spined anchovy
  1. Body is creamish with two rows of small spots on back
  2. Body fusiform and slightly depressed
  3. A distinctive spine present on pelvic scute
  4. Snout is projected and rounded
  5. Dorsal fin with small predorsal spine
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulididae
  Consumed in fresh condition for local use
    13   Stolephorus commersonii Common name: Anchovy
  1. Body is spindle shaped
  2. Mouth is blunt and ventral in position
  3. Eyes are large and prominent
  4. Dark brown patches in pectoral and pelvic fins
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulididae
  Consumed in fresh condition by local people
    14   Thryssa dussumieri Common name: Dussumier’s thryssa
  1. Strongly compressed fusiform body
  2. Snout is rounded
  3. Gill rackers are found in distinct clumps
  4. Brownish black body
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulididae
  Constitutes a good fishery in the region
    15   Thryssa hamiltonii Common name: Hamilton’s thryssa
  1. Body is greenish brown in colour
  2. Body is fusiform
  3. Snout is rounded
  4. Presence of predorsal spine
  5. Dorsal fin has branched rays
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Engraulididae
  Common in winter bagnet fishery
    16   Arius jella Common name: Small-eye catfish
  1. Body is slightly elongated
  2. Head is depressed
  3. Presence of sharp dorsal and pectoral spine
  4. Mouth is terminal in position
  5. Body is silvery grey in colour
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Ariidae
  It is one of the important species among catfishes and constitute a bulk share in marine fishery
    17   Arius arius Common name: Hamilton’s catfish
  1. Body is silvery in appearance and elongated
  2. Head flat
  3. Snout rounded
  4. Eyes fairly large
  5. Three pairs of barbles
  6. Dorsal and pectoral fins with strong spines
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Ariidae
  Very commonly caught, consumed in fresh condition, usually of high demand
    18   Harpadon nehereus Common name: Bombay duck
  1. Body is elongated and very soft
  2. Body is translucid
  3. Head and snout very short
  4. Mouth is very wide and unequal in size
  5. Lower jaw is enlarged
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Aulopiformes
Family: Harpadontidae
  Has high demand in dried condition and has good import value
    19   Lates calcarifer Common name: Bhetki or Giant sea perch
  1. Body is elongated and oblong
  2. Head is pointed
  3. Presence of a small spine in the operculum
  4. Caudal fin is rounded
  5. Body is concave anteriorly and convex posteriorly
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Centropomidae
  Generally consumed for preparation of fish fry, fish finger and other spicy dishes
    20   Sillago sihama Common name: Silver sillago
  1. Body is light brown in colour and elongate
  2. Snout is pointed
  3. Mouth small and terminal
  4. Swim bladder with two distinct post coelomic extensions
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Sillaginidae
  Constitutes an important catch in winter fishery
      21       Sillago soringa  
  1. Body is elongated and gradually tapering towards the tail
  2. Absence of notch between head and body
  3. Eye large and prominent
  4. Mouth is terminal and triangular
  5. Dorsal fin divided into two series
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Sillaginidae
  Constitutes an important catch in winter fishery in the Hugli-Matla estuarine complex
      22   Sillaginopsis panijus Common name: Gangetic whiting
  1. Body is rayish yellow in appearance
  2. Shape of the body is cylindrical
  3. Snout is greatly depressed
  4. Mouth and eyes are very small
  5. Presence of 2 spines on anal fin
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Sillaginidae
  It is a commercially important species of winter fishery
    23   Scatophagus argus Common name: Spotted butterfish, locally called Pyra mach
  1. Body is dull greenish in colour with numerous large brown spots
  2. Body is slightly quadrangular in shape
  3. Head is triangular in shape
  4. Eyes are very prominent and large
  5. Mouth is small and not protrusible
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Scatophagidae
  They are good aquarium fishes
    24   Lutjanus johni Common name: John’s snapper
  1. Body is reddish with distinct dark spot on each side
  2. Body is spindle shaped
  3. Head gradually tapering
  4. Mouth central in position
  5. Eyes large and prominent
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Lutjanidae
  Constitutes moderate fishery during post-monsoon fishing season
    25   Pomadasys argenteus Common name: Blotched grunt
  1. Body is silvery grey with prominent black spots
  2. Body is compressed and oblong
  3. Head is blunt with small mouth
  4. Anal fin with 3 spines
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Haemulidae
  Occurs along with other perches on good numbers during post-monsoon fishing season
      26   Chanoschanos Common name: Asiatic milk fish
  1. Brownish green body colour with sides silvery
  2. Elongated, rather torpedo shaped
  3. No scutes along belly
  4. Dorsal fin positioned at the centre
  5. Anal fin short and close to caudal fin
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Conorynchiformes
Family: Chanidae
  Has high edible value
  27   Mystus gulio  
  1. Body elongated and compressed
  2. Head compressed
  3. Mouth terminal and jaws unequal
  4. Four pairs of barbles
  5. Caudal fin forked
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Bagaridae
  Largely consumed in West Bengal in fresh condition
    28   Zenarchopterus ectuntio Common name: Halfbeck
  1. Body elongate and subcylindrical, laterally compressed
  2. Snout pointed
  3. Mouth wide and eyes small
  4. Lower jaw elongated with a flap at the tip
  5. Nasal barble elongated
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Cyprinodontiformes
Family: Hemiramphidae
  Has not much commercial value
    29   Leiognathus blochii Common name: Bloch’s ponyfish
  1.  
  2. Body compressed and silvery with vertical stripes on back
  3. Dorsal and ventral sides are convex
  4. Snout pointed and mouth small
  5. Dorsal fin with spines
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Leiognathidae
  Commonly found year round
    30   Leiognathus equulus Common name: Common ponyfish
  1. Body compressed, silvery with narrow vertical stripe on back
  2. Mouth small and complex
  3. Scales are minute and thin not visible clearly
  4. Head naked
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Leiognathidae
  Common fish in winter fishery
    31   Liza parsia Common name: Parse
  1. Body is slender
  2. Head is moderately flattened on top
  3. Golden spot on upper portion of the operculum
  4. Dorsal fin separated into two parts
  5. Anal fin with three spines
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Mugilidae
  Very delicious fish, commands a very high market price locally
    32   Liza tade Common name: Bhangone
  1. Body is slender and elongate
  2. Head bulged at sides
  3. Two widely separated dorsal fin
  4. Anal fin with spines
  5. Caudal fin forked
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Mugilidae
  Very delicious and widely consumed
    33   Rhinomugil corsula Common name: Corsula mullet, corsula
  1. Body is light brown in colour and is short and stout
  2. Mouth is protrusible and ventral
  3. Dorsal fin is separated into two distinct parts
  4. First dorsal fin with three spines and second dorsal fin with one spine.
  5. Anal fin with three spines
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Mugilidae
  Consumed in fresh condition
      34   Mugil cephalus Common name: Flathead grey mullet
  1. Body is olive green in colour with a broad head
  2. Adipose tissue covers the eye completely
  3. Dorsal fin is highly separated into two parts, first with 4 spines and second with one spine
  4. Anal fin with three spines and caudal fin is forked
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Mugilidae
  It is widely found in fresh and marine waters and hence widely consumed
        35   Polynemus paradiseus Common name: Paradise threadfin, locally called Topse
  1. Body is oblong and compressed
  2. Snout projecting with mouth subterminal
  3. Very small eyes
  4. Pectoral fin is divided into two parts, the upper with unbranched rays and lower with 7 free filamentous rays
  5. Caudal fin is deeply forked, with upper lobe longer than lower.
  6. Dorsal fin divided into two parts, the first with 7 spines and second with 1 spine
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Polynemidae
  It accounts for an important fishery and fetches high market price
      36   Lepturacanthus savala Common name: Small-headed ribbonfish
  1. Body is elongated, ribbon like silvery blue with metallic reflection
  2. Mouth large with fang like teeth
  3. Dorsal fin is long covering almost entire length of the body from nape to tail.
  4. Anal fin reduced and in spine form
  5. Pelvic and caudal fins absent
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Trichiuridae
  Common fishery in postmonsoon season
    37     Lepturacanthus pantuli Common name: Gangetic ribbon fish
  1. Body is elongate and compressed, ribbon like and tapering gradually to the tail
  2. Dorsal fin long running from nape to tail
  3. Anal fin reduced to spines
  4. Pectoral fin small
  5. Pelvic and caudal fin absent
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Trichiuridae
  It occurs almost in all season with greater abundance during monsoon months
    38   Trichiurus lepturus Common name: Large head ribbon fish
  1. Body elongated, compressed, ribbon like and gradually tapering with metallic reflection
  2. Head is small
  3. Mouth large with barbed fang like canine teeth
  4. Dorsal fin very long extending from nape to tail
  5. Anal fin is reduced to spines with pelvic and caudal fins absent
 
  Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family: Trichiuridae
  Very commonly sold in local markets
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