Plotosus limbatus   Valenciennes,  1840 (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Randall, J.E.

Size: 30-40 cm.

Color: In preservative, body reddish brown to dark brown, sometimes fading to a lighter brown ventrally. Fins often blackish brown, usually with a black border.

Elongate body with a large head. On dorsal side, an arch develops from the tip of snout to dorsal fin. Mouth is transverse. 4 pairs of barbels are present, out of which nasal barbels are the shortest. Eyes are large and its diameter is 1/7th of head length. Gill rakers are 22 in number. Papillae are present on gill arches.
Head moderately large, profile arched from tip of snout to dorsal fin origin; 4 pairs of barbels (1 nasal, 1 maxillary, 2 mental), the nasal barbels extending to middle or posterior borer of eyes (somewhat longer in juveniles), maxillary barbels extending from just short of posterior border of eyes (somewhat longer in juveniles), maxillary barbels extending from just short of opercular margin to pectoral spine origin; anterior nostrils located above edge of upper lip; eyes moderate to large, 13 to 20% of head length; teeth in upper jaw pointed, in 2 rectangular patches of 2 to 4 rows each; teeth in lower jaw in 2 patches of approximately 4 rows each, the anterior teeth pointed, posterior teeth molar-like; teeth on palate in a triangular patch, pointed and/or molar-like. 20 to 25 gillrakers on anterior edge of first arch; 0 to 10 ridge-like rakers on rear face, confined to upper limb; papillae rarely present on gill arches, never vermiform. First dorsal fin with 1 spine and 4 to 6 soft rays, the last ray double at base; pectoral fins with 13 to 16 soft rays; pelvic fins with 12 to 16 rays; dorsal procurrent caudal fin (second dorsal fin) with 106 to 133 rays; caudal fin with 9 to 11 rays; anal fin with 87 to 126 soft rays; total number of rays in confluent fins 210 to 243. Vertebrae posterior to Weberian complex 69 to 77. Dendritic organ present posterior to anus.

Juveniles form dense aggregations. Dorsal and pelvic fins are venomous.

Synonym (s)
Cnidoglanis nudiceps (non Gunther, 1880)
(Misapplied name)
Copidoglanis obscurus Gunther, 1864
(Junior synonym)
Plotosus anguillaris (non Bloch, 1794)
(Misapplied name)
Plotosus nigricans Valenciennes, 1840
Tandanus obscurus (Gunther, 1864)
(Junior synonym)

Common Name (s)
• Darkfin Eel Catfish (English)
• Varichundan Mushi (Malayalam)
• Kaunda
• Striped Eel Catfish
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries )

Habitat:  Demersal, Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Primary Consumer
Prey:  Crustaceans, mollusks, and fishes


• Orissa, Chilika INDIA
• Southwest Coast INDIA
• Kerala INDIA
• West Bengal INDIA
• Andhra Pradesh, Off Visakhapatnam (Lat: 17.73) (Long: 83.55) INDIA (Record: 04/1989-03/1990) (Depth: 50 mts)

Literature Source(s)
  • Jayaram, KC (1982) Aid to the identification of the siluroid fishes of India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh: Ariidae and Plotosidae Occasional paper no 37 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI 14977 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Nagabhushanam, AK and Krishnan, S (1993) Observations on the distribution of some of the marine organism inhabiting the inter-tidal zone along the western continental shelf of the Bay of Bengal, with particular reference to the Tamil Nadu coastal strip Records of the Zoological Survey of India 93(3-4) 449-490 Available at - ZSI, Pune
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • Day, F (1981) The fishes of Malabar 1-281 Available at - CMFRI, Kochi
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Satapathy, D and Panda, S (2009) Fish atlas of Chilika Chilika Development Authority, Bhubaneswar 74 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 3 Available at -
  • Bijukumar, A and Deepthi, GR (2009) Mean trophic index of fish fauna associated with trawl bycatch of Kerala, southwest coast of India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 51(2) 145 - 154 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Ramani, K; Ammini, PL; Srinivasan, J; Najeemudeen, SH; Beena, MR; George, KP; Seynudeen, MB; Subbaraman, G; Anandan, K; Khambadkar, LL; Augustine, SK; Pugazhendi, D; Rudhramurthy, N; Subramani, S; Seetharaman, S; Batcha, HK and Sankaralingam, S (2010) An overview of marine fisheries in India during 2007 Marine Fisheries Information Service CMFRI, Kochi 203 1-14 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Sujatha, K (1995) Finfish constituents of trawl by-catch off Visakhapatnam Fishery Technology Society of Fisheries Technologists 32(1) 56-60 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2011-12-28

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