Bombay Duck (Harpadon nehereus)
The Bombay Duck (Harpadon nehereus) is a marine fish species belonging to the family Synodontidae, also known as the lizardfish family. It is native to the Indo-Pacific region, primarily in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. It is commonly found along the coastal regions of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
Physical Characteristics: The Bombay Duck has an elongated, cylindrical body with a large, flattened head and a wide, upward-facing mouth. Its body is covered in small, smooth scales that give it a pale brown or greyish coloration. The fish has sharp teeth in its large mouth, which are adapted for capturing and holding prey. Bombay Ducks can grow up to 40 cm in length, although most individuals are smaller.
Habitat and Distribution: The Bombay Duck is found in a variety of marine habitats, including coastal waters, estuaries, and lagoons. It prefers shallow waters with sandy or muddy substrates and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, from clear to turbid waters. The fish is commonly found in depths between 10 and 100 meters, although it can also be found in deeper waters.
Diet and Behavior: The Bombay Duck is a carnivorous species that feeds on a variety of prey, including fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. It is an opportunistic predator that actively hunts for food, using its keen eyesight and sharp teeth to capture and subdue prey. The fish is generally solitary or found in small groups, and it can display a camouflage behavior by burying itself in the substrate to avoid predators or to ambush prey.
Reproduction: The Bombay Duck reproduces through external fertilization. The female releases eggs into the water column, which are then fertilized by the male. The eggs are buoyant and drift with the ocean currents before hatching into larvae. The larvae then settle in suitable habitats, such as estuaries or lagoons, where they mature into juveniles and eventually migrate to marine environments to complete their life cycle.
Economic Importance: The Bombay Duck is an important food fish in many parts of its range, particularly in South Asia, where it is consumed fresh, dried, or processed into fishmeal. The fish is especially popular in India, where it is called “Bombil” and is often used in traditional dishes, such as curries and pickles. The dried Bombay Duck is also exported to other countries and is considered a delicacy in some areas.
Conservation and Challenges: The Bombay Duck is not currently considered threatened or endangered, but it faces challenges such as habitat degradation, pollution, and overfishing. To ensure the sustainable management of this species, there is a need to implement regulations and fishing quotas, as well as promote responsible fishing practices. Additionally, efforts should be made to protect and restore the coastal ecosystems where the Bombay Duck is found, ensuring the long-term survival of this valuable fish species.