Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Osteoglossiformes

Family: Notopteridae

Genus: Notopterus

Species: N. notopterus

Physical Description

The Bronze Featherback Notopterus notopterus gets its name from the small dorsal fin on its back. This fin stands upright and sways back and forth just like a feather in the wind. The adult Featherback will be a plain brown while juveniles have dark bars along the entire length of the body. The recent availability of a farm produced albino version (pictured above) is an exciting development. Common names it is known by include Grey featherback, Asian Knife fish, Feather fin Knifefish, and Asiatic Knife fish. Although not particularly colorful, the Feather fin Knife fish is very interesting to watch and is well worth keeping as a pet. It has a flat elongated body with an arched back. There is a continuous fin along the underside formed by a joining of the caudal and anal fin. This fin undulates, allowing it to move either forwards or back wards, making it a very graceful swimmer. The Bronze Featherback can grow to be relatively large in the wild too, reaching up to 24 inches (60 cm).


Found in clear streams and enters brackish waters. Adults inhabit standing and sluggish waters of lakes, floodplains, canals and ponds. Undertake localized lateral migrations from the Mekong River to floodplains during the flood season and back to the mainstream or other permanent water bodies during the dry season. Common in tanks throughout the greater parts of India. Feed on insects, crustaceans and some young roots of aquatic plants. Active during twilight and night. Colonize and breed seasonally during rainy days and migrates back to permanent waters in dry season. Breeding takes place in stagnant or running waters in the rainy season. Eggs are laid in small clumps on submerged vegetation. A female measuring 21-25 cm usually lays 1,200-3,000 eggs. The fish is relished both in fresh and dried state. Soup made from it is reported to be given to people with measles of high economic importance as food fish in South and Southeast Asia to Borneo and Sumatra and taken by all types of small-scale fishing gears.

Asia: Indus, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Mahanadi, Krishna, Cauvery, and other river basins in southern India; Irrawaddy, and Salween; Meklong, Chao Phraya, Mekong and virtually all coastal river basins of peninsular Thailand and Malaysia; Sumatra and Java. Has never been reported in Borneo and is not present in the Red River basin of Tonkin (North Viet Nam).