Featherback, Spotted Clown (Chitala ornata)
The Spotted or Clown Featherback is a member of the Notopteridae – Featherbacks or knifefishes family of fishes is widely distributed throughout Asia in the Mekong basin in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam; Chao Phraya and Mekong basins. The Spotted Featherback is easily distinguished from other members of the Featherback family by the presence of a row of large ocellated spots above the base of the anal fin.
The Spotted Featherback inhabits flowing waters of large and medium-sized Asiatic rivers. The Spotted Featherback is also found in the basin-wide mainstream of the lower Mekong where it is found in pools at the edge of the river.
The Spotted/Clown Featherback is a freshwater predator which feeds on surface-feeding fishes, crustaceans and insects, with a crepuscular or nocturnal activity pattern, feeding at night and in low light levels.
The Spotted Featherback moves into inundated forest during the high water period between the months of June and October.
This species is present in various bodies of freshwater throughout Thailand and has also been stocked into various fishing lakes, ponds and farms.
Spotted Featherbacks are regularly caught when fishing in Thailand on free lined or float fished baits such as prawns, worms and ornamental live baits.
The Spotted Featherback can be caught close to submerged structure and sometimes in the upper layers where it actively predates on small prey fish and insects.