Chitala ornata the Clown Knife Fish (Clown featherback for Sale)
The clown featherback
, clown knifefish, or spotted knifefish, Chitala ornata, is a nocturnal tropical fish with a long, knife-like body. This knifefish is native to freshwater habitats in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, but it has also been introduced to regions outside its native range.
Floridas Invasive Species: the Clown Knifefish. Clown knifefish are a popular aquarium fish, but can grow to over three feet long. It is also a popular food fish in its native range, so it's unclear which route brought it to Florida's waterways. This freshwater fish is nocturnal and known to eat other fish that it can fit in its mouth. Reportedly spawning takes place in spring when females each lay thousands of eggs on the substrate or piece of wood; male cares for the eggs by fanning them with his tail, keeping them aerated and silt-free; later male reportedly protects hatched fry. Currently only found in Lakes Osborne, Ida, and their associated canals in southeast Florida. Native to tropical Asia--Indochina and Thailand. Lakes, swamps, and river backwaters; young fish occur in schools among aquatic plants and submerged roots; adults tend to be loaners commonly found near shore in areas with overhanging vegetation or docks; utilizes air to survive in warm, stagnant waters with little oxygen.
Largest specimen documented in Florida was a 31-inch specimen weighing just under 10 pounds.
Feeds on a variety of prey including small fish, insects, and grass shrimp.