BEEK JAWED FISH(ES)

Lot 2: Characterization of Beek-Jawed Fish(es)

Sort out the fish which have jaws prolonged into a beak:

……place them labeled as Needle Fishes or Belonids maybe!

This lot from any assemblage of fish, whether in the hilly streams of the Doon or in the plains, is with both the jaws prolonged into a beak-like structure. Unhesitatingly, identify this fish as:

Xenentodon (=Belone) cancila

In the streams of Doon valley, Xenentodon (=Belone) cancila (Hamilton) is found to be a dominant species after Barilius and Puntius, frequent in catches in almost every haul made. Its follows a wide range of distribution i.e., from 300 – 700 m above msl, but common at the lower reaches in calm and quiet waters. More frequent in East (Asan River) as compared to West (Song and Suswa rivers), it finds downstream sections more congenial to dwell.
On occasions, the fish is found in floating mode (just like a wooden stick) in deeper and calm waters.
Diagnosis:
Body elongate, silvery green, subcylindrical and compressed. Head and snout sharply pointed. Upper and lower jaw extended into long beak armed with sharp, pointed teeth to their tip, a silvery band extending on flank of the body, 4 – 8 blotches along the sides between the bases of pectoral and anal fins in adults but absent in youngs. Males have dorsal and anal fins edged black. Dorsal fin inserted above anal fin. Caudal truncate. Dorsal and caudal tipped darker.

  • Systematic position

Family: Belonidae (Needle Fishes)