CLASSIFICATION OF NOTOPTERUS (CHITALA)
Phylum :- CHORDATA (Notochord and dorsal tubular nerve cord present and gill-slits present).
Group :- CRANIATA (Cranium with brain present).
Subphylum :- VERTEBRATA (Vertebral column present).
Division :- GNATHOSTOMATA (Jaws and paired appendages present).
Super class :- PISCES (Paired fins , gills and skin with scales)
Class :- OSTEICHTHYES (Bony fishes).
SUB-CLASS :- ACTINOPTYERGII (Ray finned fish ).
SUPER ORDER :- TELEOISTEI (Bony fish proper).
Order :- CYPRINIFORMES (Anterior vertebrae fused. Webrian ossicles present between air bladder and ear).
GENUS :- Notopterus
Notopterus is widely distributed in India, Myanmar, Malaya and West Africa, N. chitala is exclusively found in the fresh-waters of India.
HABIT AND HABITAT
- Notopterus commonly inhabits marshy meadows, lakes, fresh-water of brackish water.
- It is a bottom feeder, carnivorous, predacious and feeding on small organisms, insects and crustaceans.
GENERAL CHARACTERSTICS OF NOTOPTERUS (CHITALA)
- Commonly known as cat-fish or Chitala. Body divided into head, trunk and tail.
- Body is very strongly compressed with a short pre-caudal region and measuring about 1.5 meters in length.
- Colour is silvery dark or greenish or glossy yellow on the back.
- Head contains large and oblique mouth, whitish eyes and nostrils.
- Dorsal fin is short and ventral fin very much reduced or absent. Very much elongated anal fin confluent with reduced caudal fin. Number of combined rays of anal and caudal fin varies from 85 to 100.
- It has a series of fairly small, sometimes indistinct, non-ocellated dark spots towards the far rear of the body (at the “tail”).
- Paired pectorals and ventral fins closely placed.
- Air bladder is very large and divided into several compartments.
- Teeth are homodont.
- Gill covers are scaly. Lateral line scales 120 to 180, ventral scutes 25 to 45.
- This is abundantly found fish in river Godavari representing most of the sampling stations.
- The flesh of the fish is very rich in nutrition and well flavoured.
- This fish has confluent anal and caudal fins, strongly compressed body and above features, hence it is Notopterus.