Animal Species:Milkfish, Chanos chanos (Forsskål, 1775)

The Milkfish is a schooling species that has a small toothless mouth and a large deeply-forked caudal fin. It occurs in freshwater, estuarine, and inshore tropical and subtropical waters.

Spawning aggregation of Milkfish at Ribbon Reef

Michael Kingsford © Michael Kingsford

Standard Common Name

Milkfish

Alternative Name/s

Bandang, Bangos, Bukkariba, Buruna, Giant Herring, Moreton Bay Salmon, Salmon Herring

Identification

The Milkfish is a schooling species that has a small toothless mouth and a large deeply-forked caudal fin. The eyes are covered with a thick layer of gelatinous tissue. The body is silvery blue-green above, silvery on sides and white below.

Size range

The species grows to about 1.5 m in length and at least 10.6 kg.

Distribution

The species occurs in tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian Ocean and Western to Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from the south-west coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south on the east coast to at least Jervis Bay, but possibly to Victoria.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Chanos chanos

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Milkfish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It occurs in freshwater, estuarine, and inshore waters. On the Great Barrier Reef, adult Milkfish live inshore, but in summer, they migrate across the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon, and spawn just outside the ribbon reefs in the Coral Sea. The larvae then move back across the lagoon and recruit to shallow, inshore waters (Leis and Reader, 1991).

Economic/social impacts

The species is an important aquaculture fish in parts of south-east Asia.

Classification

Species:
chanos
Genus:
Chanos
Family:
Chanidae
Order:
Gonorhynchiformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Bagarinao, T.U. 1991. Biology of Milkfish (Chanos chanos Forsskal). Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre. Pp. 94.
  3. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. in Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  4. Bagarino, T. 1999. Chanidae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-vi, 1398-2068.
  5. Leis, J.M. & S.E. Reader. 1991. Distributional ecology of larval milkfish, Chanos chanos (Pisces, Chanidae) in the Lizard Island Region. Environmental Biology of Fishes 30(4): 395-405.
  6. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

 


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Milkfish, Chanos chanos, Chanidae, small toothless mouth, freshwater, estuarine, inshore tropical, subtropical waters, Bandang, Bangos, Bukkariba, Buruna, Giant Herring, Moreton Bay Salmon, Salmon Herring, schooling species, silvery blue-green, silver, white underside, > 1m, tropical water, subtropical water, Great Barrier Reef, inshore, shallow water,