Cuchillo Payaso

Tamaño: Hasta 120 cm y cerca de 5 kg de peso. Diferencias sexuales: No existen diferencias sexuales.

Nombre Cientifico: Chitala chitala (Hamilton, 1822)

Nombre común: “Pez cuchillo payaso”. “Navaja payaso”. “Navaja chitala”. “Cuchillo ocelado”. “Cuchillo ornado”. “Pez pluma payaso”.

Atención:
todos estos nombres comunes son compartidos con la especie muy relacionada Chitala ornata, con la que a menudo se confunde. Para los que consulten el Atlas Mergus, el pez que aparece en la pag. 1.150 del Vol. II identificado como Chitala ornata es en realidad un ejemplar de Chitala chitala.

Nombres comunes locales:
“Chalat”, “Patre” (India); “Chital” (Bangladesh); “Belida” (Malasia); “Cá còm” (Vietnam); “Nga-pe” (Myanmar); “Pa thong” (Laos); “Pangaju” (Indonesia); “Pla hang pan”, “Pla krai”, “Pla tong krai” (Thailandia); “Trey krai”, “Trei kros” o “Trey kray” (Camboya); “Clown knifefish”, “Knife fish”, “Thousand Dollar Knife Fish” o “Featherback” (inglés).

Sinónimos:
Mystus chitala – Hamilton, 1822; Notopterus chitala (Hamilton, 1822); Notopterus maculatus – Valenciennes, 1832; Notopterus buchanani – Valenciennes, 1848; Chitala lopis (en la actualidad una especie distinta, Bleeker, 1851).

Clasificación:
• Orden: Osteoglossiformes.
• Familia: Notopteridae.

Temperatura: 24ºC – 28ºC Agua: No muy exigente y presente en un rango bastante amplio de acidez y dureza. pH 6.5 – 8.0; GH de 5ºd a 15ºd.


Biotopo:

Ríos de flujo lento y aguas quietas en el sudeste asiático. Cuencas de los ríos Brahmaputra, Ganges, Mahanadi e Indus. Según FishBase los informes de capturas en los sistemas fluviales de Irrawaddy, Salween y otros ríos de Myanmar, así como en Tailandia y Camboya son errores basados en la especie Chitala ornata, y aquellos que sitúan a la especie en Indonesia se deben a una identificación errónea de Chitala lopis.

Distribución:
Asia: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistán y Sri Lanka. En algunas webs o en cierta bibliografía se citan como lugares de origen países como Tailandia, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam o Camboya, pero Chitala chitala no está presente en ninguno de ellos. La ubicación errónea de este pez en estos puntos se debe a una confusión con Chitala ornata


Forma:

Son peces planos lateralmente comprimidos, con el aspecto de una navaja, con una aleta anal que abarca prácticamente toda la longitud del pez. La cabeza está ligeramente deprimida con respecto al lomo.

Diagnosis:
Al contrario que los peces cuchillo africanos, posee una pequeña aleta dorsal con 9 radios blandos. Presenta de 117 a 127 radios blandos en la aleta anal.

Coloración:

Color plateado, con grandes ocelos negros que recorren la mitad inferior de los flancos. Son ocelos grandes y muy juntos rodeados de un halo blanco bien definido. Esta característica les distingue de Chitala ornata, cuyos puntos están mucho más separados, son menores y carecen de halo o éste es apenas imperceptible.

Presenta algunas barras transversales oblicuas (de 10 a 15) de color dorado o plateado en el dorso, no siempre visibles, pero más en los subadultos o juveniles.

Tamaño:

Hasta 120 cm y cerca de 5 kg de peso.

Diferencias sexuales:

No existen diferencias sexuales.

Comportamiento: Agresivo, altamente depredador. Devorará a todo pez que quepa por su boca. Esperanza de vida: 20 años.

Temperatura:
24ºC – 28ºC

Agua:
No muy exigente y presente en un rango bastante amplio de acidez y dureza. pH 6.5 – 8.0; GH de 5ºd a 15ºd.

Acuario:
Necesitan tanques muy espaciosos, dado su tamaño. Se pueden mantener temporalmente en tanques de 200-400 litros cuando son jovenes y aún no muy grandes, luego de adultos necesitarán un tanque de gran tamaño de por lo menos 600-1.200 litros; con fondo de arena suave, piedras redondeadas y suaves y poca iluminación.

Alimentación:

Son carnívoros y omnívoros; se alimentan de alimento vivo de todo tipo, peces, pedazos de carne, lombrices picadas, y aceptan relativamente bien los alimentos secos tipo gránulos.
Comportamiento:
Agresivo, altamente depredador. Devorará a todo pez que quepa por su boca.

Esperanza de vida:

20 años.

Clasificación: • Orden: Osteoglossiformes. • Familia: Notopteridae.

Reproducción:
Nunca obtenida en acuario, pero estudiada en libertad. Los peces desovan sobre un sustrato duro, generalmente una piedra lisa o un tronco, y es el macho el que se encarga de vigilar y abanicar los huevos. La eclosión se produce entre una semana y quince días después de la puesta y los alevines son cuidados por el macho durante al menos otra semana más.

En su medio natural, el período de reproducción se escalona de mayo a julio. La hembra pone en un solo lecho hasta 500 huevos, y los alevines salen al cabo de 7-15 días. Antes de la puesta los padres limpian los rebordes del lugar de desove en un radio de unos 60 cms., donde los alevines permanecen durante un tiempo después de la eclosión. La hembra, más activa que el macho, lo atrae al lugar de desove. Pone en el fondo de piedras hasta 15 huevos cada vez, que el macho fecunda de forma inmediata. Las papilas genitales son visibles durante el desove.

Según Iván Petrovicky, el desove (no reproducción) en cautividad de Chitala chitala (este autor usa el nombre antiguo de Notopterus chitala) se ha conseguido en una ocasión en Estados Unidos a cargo de T. Berardo, quien obtuvo la puesta de esta especie en 1973 en un acuario de 1.400 litros. Los peces que desovaron medían 58 cm de largo. La temperatura del agua había sido aumentada de 26 a 29ºC y el pH era de 6.2. El desarrollo de los huevos no pudo ser abservado debido a que otro pez devoró la puesta. Sólo se señala que los huevos son de tamaño relativamente pequeño.

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