Heteropneustes fossilis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Siluriformes Heteropneustidae

Scientific Name: Heteropneustes fossilis
Species Authority: (Bloch, 1794)
Common Name(s):
English Stinging catfish
Clarisilurus kemratensis (non Fowler, 1937)
Heteropneustes microps (non Günther, 1864)
Heteropneustes microps (Günther, 1864)
Saccobranchus fossilis (Bloch, 1794)
Saccobranchus microcephalus Günther, 1864
Saccobranchus singio (Hamilton, 1822)
Silurus biserratus Swainson, 1839
Silurus fossilis Bloch, 1794
Silurus singio Hamilton, 1822

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-12
Assessor(s): Jha, B.R. & Rayamajhi, A.
Reviewer(s): Vishwanath, W., Dahanukar, N. & Molur, S.
Contributor(s): Molur, S.
Heteropneustes fossilis has a very wide range (Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos) and has been introduced elsewhere. Whilst it is heavily utilised for food and for medicine in many parts of its range, and it may be threatened by over exploitation and habitat loss and degradation (especially from pollution and dams), it is considered Least Concern at present.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Heteropneustes fossilis is recorded from South and Southeast Asia: Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos (Eschmeyer and Fricke 2009). It is introduced in Iran and Iraq. Records from India include the Andaman Island and Uttar Pradesh (Dehra Dun, Nainital).
Countries occurrence:
Bangladesh; India (Andaman Is., Bihar, Darjiling, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Thailand
Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq
Number of Locations: 17
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: Unknown
Lower elevation limit (metres): 50
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1800
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a commonly occurring species throughout its range. It is also cultivated in some parts of its range; fishermen stock tanks with singhi during the rainy season.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Inhabits freshwater, rarely brackish waters. This is primarily a fish of ponds, ditches, bheels, swamps and marshes, but it is sometimes found in muddy rivers. It is able to tolerate slightly brackish water. Its air-breathing apparatus enables it to exist in almost any kind of water. Generally, during the dry season singi lives in semiliquid and semi-dry mud, and even when the mud dries up they take their bodies to the bottom of fissures and crevices formed by the cracking mud. Fertilised eggs are adhesive, demersal and spherical in form.
Systems: Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Movement patterns: Nomadic
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: A fish of high economic importance. It lives in large shoals in suitable localities and is extensively fished on account of the reported invigorating qualities of its flesh. The fish which attains a length of 30 cm, is in great demand because of its medicinal value in India. In the Calcutta markets the fish is sold in large quantities and is kept alive; boat-loads of living fish are brought from the deltaic districts and the Sunderbans. In the summer months (April-June) about 90% of live fish in the markets in India consists of this fish and Clarias.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Habitat destruction and conversion, pollution, over-exploitation, disease and effect of climate change have been reported from almost all of its range. However, the species does not seem to be affected by any of these threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

No specific conservation effort and priority to this species. Some populations are automatically protected by being within protected areas of its range. Some small scale aquaculture is reported mainly for its consumptive use rather than for its conservation.

Citation: Jha, B.R. & Rayamajhi, A. 2010. Heteropneustes fossilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T166452A6212487. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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