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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Ostariophysi
Ordo: Siluriformes
Familia: Chacidae
Genus: Chaca
Species: C. bankanensis - C. burmensis - C. chaca


Chaca Gray, 1831


Carl J. Ferraris, Jr., 2007, Zootaxa 1418: 1-628 [1]

Chaca is the only genus in the catfish family Chacidae. These fish are commonly known as squarehead catfishes, frogmouth catfishes, or angler catfishes.[1] These unusual fish have a sedentary lifestyle and spend much of their time immobile.

The name Chaca is derived from the fact that when removed from the water, they will rapidly repeat the sound "chaca".[2] Only C. chaca makes these sounds; the other species do not.[3]

Distribution and habitat

Chaca species are found in freshwater from eastern India to Borneo. C. chaca is found in the Ganges-Brahmaputra River system of India and the Ayeyarwady River of Myanmar.[2] C. bankanensis originates from the Sundaland region.[2] C. burmensis is found in the Sittang River in Myanmar and possibly the Ayeyarwady drainage.[4]

C. chaca is found in rivers, canals, and ponds of grassland, scrubland, deciduous forest, and rainforest habitats.[2][5] On the other hand, C. bankanensis is only found in the rainforest, where it inhabits peat.[2][6]

Appearance and anatomy

Chaca catfish have an elongated, broad, and flattened head. The mouth is terminal and very wide.[2] There are three or four pairs of barbels, though if the nasal barbels are present they are minute.[7] These fish grow to a length of about 20 centimetres (7.9 in).[5][6][8]

The dorsal fin is short and possesses strong, serrated, fin spines, which are strong enough to inflict wounds.[2]


These fish live in soft substrates where they will bury themselves as camouflage, both for protection and to feed.[5] These fish are ambush predators. They feed on prey such as small fish, including cyprinids and pupfishes.[2] They will lie in wait, well camouflaged, in preparation for prey to swim by. Sometimes, they use their maxillary barbels to lure prey fish closer to its mouth, similar to a worm jerking in the water,[2] although this behavior is contested by some aquarists who do not observe this behavior.[3] When the catfish is ready to strike, the Chaca will open its large mouth rapidly, creating a vacuum that pulls in water and its prey, which may be up to half the fish's own length.[2] These fish are also able to use this large mouth as a means of propulsion; when frightened, they will gulp a large amount of water and expel it through their gills.[3]

In the aquarium

Chaca species are occasionally available as aquarium fish. These fish are nocturnal and are usually inactive. [9] A bizarre phenomenon is shown in that Chaca appear to lower the pH of the water, and so maintenance of water chemistry is necessary.[3] These fish have been bred in captivity.[3]


1. ^ "Chacidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=164133. Retrieved May 8, 2007.
2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Roberts, Tyson R. (1982). "A Revision of the South and Southeast Asian Angler-Catfishes (Chacidae)". Copeia (American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists) 1982 (4): 895–901. doi:10.2307/1444100. JSTOR 1444100.
3. ^ a b c d e "Catfish of the Month::March 2001". 2006-10-03. http://www.planetcatfish.com/cotm/cotm.php?article_id=101. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
4. ^ Brown, Barbara A.; Ferraris, Carl J., Jr. (1988). "Comparative Osteology of the Asian Catfish Family Chacidae, with the Description of a New Species from Burma" (PDF). American Museum Novitates (2907): 1–16. http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/bitstream/2246/5175/1/N2907.pdf.
5. ^ a b c Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Chaca chaca" in FishBase. May 2007 version.
6. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Chaca bankanensis" in FishBase. May 2007 version.
7. ^ Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. ISBN 0471250317.
8. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Chaca burmensis" in FishBase. May 2007 version.
9. ^ Axelrod, Herbert R. (1996). Exotic Tropical Fishes. T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 0-87666-543-1.

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License