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Xenentodon cancila

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The freshwater garfish, Xenentodon cancila is the sole member of its genus. It is found primarily in freshwater habitats,[1] though it is sometimes found in brackish water and the sea.[1] It is most common in rivers, but may also be found ponds, canals, and other freshwater habitats.[1]

As a reasonably popular aquarium fish Xenentodon cancila, has been traded under a variety of common names, including needlefish,[2] silver needlefish[3], Asian freshwater needlefish,[2] needlenose halfbeak,[4] freshwater gar,[4] and numerous others. While belonging to the same family as the marine needlefish known in Europe as gar or garpike, Belone belone,[5] these fish are of course much more distantly related to other fishes sometimes called gars (such as the North American Lepisosteidae and South American pike characins).[4]

The freshwater garfish is widely distributed across South and Southeast Asia from India and Sri Lanka to the Malaysian Peninsula.[3]

In common with other needlefish, this species has an elongate body with long, beak-like jaws filled with teeth.[5] The dorsal and anal fins are positioned far back along the body close to the tail.[5] The body is silvery-green, darker above and lighter below with a dark band running horizontally along the flank.[1] Slight sexual dimorphism exists, the male fish often having anal and dorsal fins with a black edge.[5][3]

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