Fishes in Kerala – Common fresh water fishes

1. Name: Banded Snakehead(Opheocephalus)
Scientific: Channa striatus
Malayalam: Varal, Varaal

This fish is remarkable for its parental care. It is carnivorous. The body is long and cylindrical with a huge mouth and serpent like head. They have got additional respiratory organs (two air chambers) to enable breathing air while crawling through land. This fish is often found in ponds, paddy fields and in rivers. During migration these fishes even sail through backwaters to reach the next water body. Very often this fish can be seen coming to the surface of the water to gulp in air. During drought, they bury themselves in mud, and remain there in dormant stage, till the next monsoon comes. This is both edible and a prefered aquarium species.
More pictures of Banded snakehead

2. Name: Climbing Perch
Scientific name: Anabas testudineus
Malayalam: Chempally, Karuveppu, Antikalli, Kallada
Pictures of Climbing Perch
Anabas is another tasty fish but with a hard skin. Also an aquarium fish. They can live out of water for about 6 to 7 hours. Having the habit of migrating from pond to pond. The fish crawls through land to reach the next destination during which time it breaths air through accessory respiratory organs on each side of the head. While in water breathing occurs through the gills. It is an omnivorous fish.

3. Name: Pearl Spot
Scientific name: Etroplus suratensis
Malayalam: Karimeen, Kariyamplachi
Pictures of Pearl spot
A very tasty fish found in both salty and freshwaters of Kerala. It is found in backwaters, ponds and paddy fields. Body is covered over with scales of black colour, hence the name Karimeen(meaning black fish in the local language). The body is oval in outline and is laterally compressed. There are eight transverse bands on the body and a few irregular black spots on the abdomen. It has got a very small mouth. Also popular as an aquarium fish.

4. Name: Tilapia
Scientific: Oerochromis mossabicus
Malayalam: Tilapia, Tilopia, Thilopia, Kerala Karimeen
Images of Tilapia

Tilapia is an exotic fish, brought to Kerala from Africa. It is found in ponds, rivers and backwaters of Kerala. It can multiply very fast even in a very constrained water body like a pond. Body is laterally compressed just like Etroplus(Karimeen), but comparatively more elongated.  It is omnivorous.


23 Replies to “Fishes in Kerala – Common fresh water fishes”

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  2. Nice to see fresh water fishes. It is long in length and big mouth it can swallow a small size fish. I would like to visit this blog once again thanks for sharing the information.

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