Scientific Name: Heteropneutes fossilis
Tamil Name: Thaylee
Desciption: Adults attain a maximum length of 30 cm. This is a medium sized, dark brown – black and slimy cat fish. The stinging catfish is slender, unpatterned, and has a dorsal fin that is reduced to a small knife like structure. This species is known for its highly venomous pectoral spine that can inflict a painful sting when handled carelessly.
Habitat & distribution:. It occurs in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos. It is distributed throughout India including the Andaman and Nicobar islands. It prefers rivers,estuaries,lakes, ponds, flood waters and ditches. It can tolerate even turbid and muddy waters.
Note: The adults swim in shoals close to the bottom being more active at night. They are very agile and can stay out of water for long periods of time. The species is known to stay below the surface of mud in dry lake or pond beds, coming back to life after the rains.
Photo: Dr J D Marcus Knight