Pellona ditchela Valenciennes, 1847
Indian pellona
Pellona ditchela
photo by Gloerfelt-Tarp, T.

Family:  Pristigasteridae (Pristigasterids)
Max. size:  16 cm SL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  pelagic; freshwater; brackish; marine; depth range 6 - 55 m, anadromous
Distribution:  Indo-West Pacific: Indian Ocean: east coast of Africa northward from about Durban (Ref. 3509) to the Gulf of Oman (Ref. 188), including Madagascar (Ref. 188, 3509), the coasts of India and Andaman Sea (Ref. 188, 6867), and south to western Australia (Ref. 188); also South China Sea (Ref. 188), and Indonesia to northern Australia and Papua New Guinea (Ref. 188, 6867).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 16-19; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 34-42. Diagnosis: Body moderately deep, compressed, belly with strongly keeled scutes, 17-20 pre-pelvic and 8-10 post-pelvic scutes, with a total of total 25-29 scutes (Ref. 188, 6867). Eye large; lower jaw projecting; upper jaw with a toothed hypomaxillary bone between hind tip of pre-maxilla and lower bulge of maxilla blade; lower gillrakers 22-27; dorsal fin origin near midpoint of body; pelvic fins present; anal fin with 34-42 finrays; scales with upper and lower vertical striae slightly overlapping each other at centre of scales (Ref. 188). It closely resembles Pellona dayi, which has only 20-21 lower gillrakers and the vertical scale striae not meeting at centre of scale; species of Ilisha have no hypomaxilla; other pristigasterids are much more slender and lack pelvic fins (Ref. 188). Description: Body fairly deep and compressed, its depth 25 to 36% of standard length (Ref. 6867). Lower jaw very prominent, toothed hypomaxilla present in upper jaw; eyes large, about 30% of head length (Ref. 6867, 30573). Gillrakers 22-27 on lower arm of first arch (Ref. 188, 3259, 6867). Dorsal fin with 3-4 unbranched rays and 13-16 branched rays, its origin about midway between snout-tip and caudal fin base; pectoral fin with 1 unbranched ray and 13-17 branched rays; pelvic fins, with 1 unbranched ray and 6 branched rays, slightly in advance of dorsal-fin origin; anal fin fairly long, with 3-4 unbranched rays and 31-38 branched rays, its origin slightly behind dorsal-fin base (Ref. 3259, 6867). Scales on lateral line 37-44; scales with vertical striae discontinuous, but slightly overlapping in scale centre (Ref. 3259, 11441). Belly with strongly keeled scutes; 17-20 pre-pelvic scutes, 8-10 post-pelvic scutes, total 25-29 scutes (Ref. 3259, 6867). Colouration: Back blue-brown, flanks silvery; fins hyaline (Ref. 3259, 6867).
Biology:  A pelagic species found in coastal areas (Ref. 2871, 6867) at depths from 6 to 36 meters (Ref. 3225); occasionally entering mangrove swamps and penetrating estuaries into freshwater (Ref. 188, 3509, 54703). Apparently fully euryhaline (Ref. 188). Marketed fresh and may be dried or salted (Ref. 5284). Regarded as an excellent bait in the tuna fishery.
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 30 June 2016 Ref. (124695)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

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