Fecundity of Air-Breathing Fish Channa Striatus (Bloch) From Waterbodies of Beed District, Maharashtra, India  

Sakhare V.B.
Post Graduate Department of Zoology, Yogeshwari Mahavidyalaya, Ambajogai-431517, India
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Aquaculture, 2015, Vol. 5, No. 18   doi: 10.5376/ija.2015.05.0018
Received: 29 May, 2015    Accepted: 23 Jun., 2015    Published: 13 Jul., 2015
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Sakhare V.B., 2015, Fecundity of Air-Breathing Fish Channa Striatus (Bloch) From Waterbodies of Beed District, Maharashtra, India, International Journal of Aquaculture, 5(18): 1-3


Observations made on the fecundity of the air-breathing fish Channa striatus from waterbodies in Beed district, Maharashtra, India are reported. The ovarian eggs were found to be of different sizes. The number of ova per gram mature ovary ranged from 477 to 695 and the number of ova per gram body weight, from 36 to 68, the average being 49. The gonad weight and fecundity showed an increase with the increase in size of fish.

Channa striatus; Freshwater murrel; Fecundity, India

The fish belonging to genus Channa contribute a lot to the commercial fishery of inland waters of India. High market price, tolerance to a variety of habitats and carnivorous food habit make them an important element of fish farming which demands an understanding their biology and ecological requirements (Wee, 1982; Kilambi, 1986).Survey of available literature revealed that works on age and growth of Channa spp have been done by several workers (Alikunhi, 1953; Bhat, 1969, 1970; Reddy, 1981; Kilambi, 1986; Abbas and Siddiqui, 1987; Dua and Kumar, 2006). However little is known about the fecundity of Channa striatus. Hence the present work on fecundity of Channa striatus was carried out for one year i.e., June 2013 to May 2014).

The striped murrel Channa striatus,is a highly priced freshwater air-breathing fish of the Indian sub-continent and south-east Asia. They are in great demand as food fish due to their good flavor, few spines, medicinal importance and air-breathing nature that facilitate high density culture and easy transportation in the live stage to the retail markets. It inhabits rivers, channels, ponds, lakes, paddy fields and reservoirs, but prefers stagnant muddy water, swamps and grassy tanks (Sakhare, 2012).

Channa striatus attains sexual maturity towards the end of the first year of its life (Alikunhi, 1953). It breeds in ponds and rivers a little prior to or with the onset of monsoon and their spawning season extends to the last monsoons. It is a batch spawner and breeds two or three times in a season. The breeding season extends from February-March to October-November and lay floating egg in a nest made of leafy vegetable. Average diameter of the laid eggs is 1.53 mm. Eggs are laid in nests and both parents guard the nest. The eggs are amber coloured, round, non-adhesive and are found floating in a mass in the centre of the nest.

The striped murrel, Channa striatus is a preferred species among the murrels as it grows better than Channa punctatus and Channa gachua and possesses lesser cannibalistic habit than Channa marulius (Banerji, 1974).Being an air-breathing fish, Channa striatus can survive in shallow, derelict and weed infested water areas. Channa striatus is reported to breed in natural water body coinciding their peak breeding season to the monsoon months viz., south-west and north-east monsoons. Alikunhi (1953) reported that striped murrel is a year round spawner with a single peak in north India, extending from April to August, and two peaks in peninsular and southern India corresponding to the two monsoon seasons of June-July and November-January.

The knowledge of the fecundity of a fish is extremely important in successful management and exploitation of its fishery. The number of eggs, contained in the ovary of a fish is termed as individual, absolute or total fecundity (Nikolsky, 1963). Bagenal (1967) modified the definition of Nikolsky by including the number of mature eggs laid in the life span of a fish.

The fish fecundity has been related to body weight, body length and ovary weight and termed as relative fecundity. The concept of relative fecundity allows comparisons of the fertility of animals of different species or different populations of the same species.

The rate of fecundity has been acknowledged by the biologists in understanding the population dynamics of fishes, as fecundity is one of the decisive factors in the formation of a new year class. Fecundity can be used a parameter of environmental suitability of the fish. A continuous deterioration in the environment produce qualitative and quantitative changes in the fecundity. The fecundity has been also successfully used in delimiting various populations of the same species (Khan, 1989). Larger fish produce more eggs, both in absolute and in relative terms to body mass. For a given size, females in better condition exhibit higher fecundity (Kjesbu et al.,1991). Fish size and condition are thus, key parameters to properly assess fecundity at the population level.

Several works on fecundities of Indian freshwater fishes have been reported in recent years. Notable among them were Sugunan and Vinci (1981a, 1981b), Singh and Srivastava (1982), Nauitiyal (1985), Sakhare (2000), Somdutt and Kumar (2004), Alam and Pathak (2010), Bhat (2012), Mishra and Saksena (2012), Chavan and Muley (2014), Haque and Biswas (2014) etc.

Materials and Methods
The fish for present study were collected at random from different waterbodeis of Beed district in Maharashtra (India) during the period from June 2013 to May 2014.A total of 52 specimens of Channa striatus were collected in different months.

The total length and weight of the fish were recorded to the nearest millimeters and grams respectively. After dissection, the gonads were taken out and then moisture was thoroughly wiped out from the ovaries with blotting paper and weighed with help of digital balance. The weight of ovary was also recorded.

In the present study, the gravimetric method was used for the estimation of fecundity. After liberation from the ovarian tissue, the ova was thoroughly washed and spreaded on blotting paper to dry in air. The total number of ova so collected were weighed and the random samples of about 500 were counted and weighed. The total number of ova in the ovaries was then obtained from following formula (Alam and Pathak, 2010):

G=Total weight of ova
g= Total weight of subsample in sample unit
n= Number of ova in the subsamples.

Results and Discussion
The reproductive organ of Channa striatus consists of bilobed gonads. The average ova diameter was 1.53 mm. The eggs were amber coloured, rounded and non-adhesive. During the present investigation the fecundity of Channa striatus varied from 4900 (for a fish with total length 245 mm and body weight 130 gm) to 14028 (for a fish with total length 375 mm and body weight 204 gm).The largest fish with a total length of 375 mm and body weight 204 gm showed the fecundity of 14028.The smallest sized fish in the sample with a total length 245 mm and body weight 130 gm showed the fecundity of 4900.The mean fecundity of 52 females was recorded as 8353 eggs for a fish with a mean total length of 297.85 mm and mean body weight of 162.42 gm (Table 1). The observed mean total weight of the ovary was 14.11 gm.

Table 1 Details of female specimens collected from different water bodies around Ambajogai, Maharashtra

The number of eggs produced by a female is dependent on different factors such as size, age, condition types of the samples (Lagler et al., 1967).During present investigation the number of eggs were directly proportional to the weight of the fish and the fecundity increased progressively with ovary weight of fishes. Similar observations were also made by Roy et al., (2014) and Parameswaran et al., (1972).

The ovary weight as percentage of the total weight of fish ranged from 5.4 to 10 with an average of 8.4.Specimens from crowded situations or where food was scare, showed relatively low ovary weight. Compared to the carps the fecundity of Channa striatus appears to be low.


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