Teleostei (teleosts) > Beloniformes
(Needle fishes) > Belonidae
Etymology: Xenentodon: Greek, xenos = strange + Greek, odous = teeth (Ref. 45335).
More on author: Hamilton.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; brackish; pelagic-neritic; pH range: 7.0 - 7.5; dH range: 20 - ?; amphidromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 2 m (Ref. 58302). Tropical; 22°C - 28°C (Ref. 1672); 38°N - 5°N
Asia: Sri Lanka and India eastward to the Mekong.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 40.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4833); common length : 30.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4833)
soft rays: 16 - 18. Body very elongate and slightly compressed. Dorsal fin inserted usually anterior to a vertical through the origin of the anal fin. Green-silvery dorsally, grading to whitish below. A silvery band with a dark margin run along the side; a series of four or five blotches (absent in young specimens) on sides between the pectoral and anal fins. Dorsal and anal fins with dark edges.
Adults occur primarily in rivers (Ref. 4833); also in ponds, canals, beels, and inundated fields (Ref. 1479). Often found in slow-flowing pools in rivers with a rock or sand substrate (Ref. 6028). They inhabit large and medium-sized rivers with adults occurring in areas that lack floating vegetation (Ref. 12693). A solitary species that swims in midwater, usually against the current, and is capable of bursts of speed, especially when in pursuit of its prey. Observed to feed exclusively on crustaceans in the wild; but take live fish only when in an aquarium (Ref. 6028). Also feeds on small fishes and insects (Ref. 12693). Oviparous (Ref. 205). Eggs may be found attached to objects in the water by tendrils on the egg's surface (Ref. 205). This fish is capable of nipping the fingers or killing a person by leaping at them at great speed (Ref. 6028; Kullander (pers. comm., 2001), however, suggests that the "killing a person" statement may be exaggerated). Marketed fresh (Ref. 12693).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Male pursues a slow-moving female and upon catching up with the female, will begin shuddering from side to side while the pair is oriented parallel to each other; the pair positions themselves close to submerged vegetation; male assumes a slight head-down position , with his anal fin curled under the female's vent; the pair begins trembling until a single large egg is released; each female produces about a dozen eggs per day; eggs hatch in about a week; no parental care (Ref. 44091).
Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran, 1991. Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Volume 2. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, i-xxii + 543-1158, 1 pl. (Ref. 4833)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 126983)
Threat to humans
Traumatogenic (Ref. 6028)
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: potential
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804
= 0.7500 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00112 (0.00070 - 0.00179), b=3.16 (3.03 - 3.29), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.9 ±0.62 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (30 of 100).
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 284 [95, 708] mg/100g; Iron = 0.8 [0.4, 1.6] mg/100g; Protein = 16.7 [15.3, 18.3] %; Omega3 = 0.205 [0.082, 0.602] g/100g; Selenium = 36.6 [14.8, 85.7] μg/100g; VitaminA = 43.9 [18.2, 104.0] μg/100g; Zinc = 1.72 [1.04, 2.47] mg/100g (wet weight); based on nutrient studies.