Review of the Milkfishes of Iran (Family Chanidae)

Brian W COAD


The systematics, morphology, distribution, biology, economic importance and conservation of the milkfish (Chanos chanos) of Iran are described, the species is illustrated, and a bibliography on this fish in Iran is provided. It is characterised by a compressed and oblong body, small, toothless and terminal mouth, non-protractile upper jaw, lateral pouches on the posterior part of the branchial chamber forming an epibranchial organ and presence of intermuscular bones. The milkfish resembles members of the family Clupeidae (herrings) but is distinguished by a low number of branchiostegal rays (4 as opposed to 6-7), the presence of a lateral line, and the absence of scutes along the belly. Chanos chanos is found from the African coast, Red Sea and Persian Gulf to the southern Pacific coast of the U.S.A. and to Peru, and north to Japan and south to Australia. Usually found in littoral waters of the ocean, rarely entering rivers but often found in estuaries. The milkfish has been acclimatised to freshwater ponds.


Biology, Morphology, Distribution, Habitat, Chanos.

Full Text:



Abdoli, A. 2000. The Inland Water Fishes of Iran. Iranian Museum of Nature and Wildlife, Tehran. 378 pp. In Farsi.

Amrollahi Biuki, N.; Savari, A.; Mortazavi, M.S. & Zolgharnein, H. 2010. Acute toxicty of cadmium chloride CdCl2.H2O) on Chanos chanos and their behavior reponses. World Journal of Fish & Marine Systems 2(6): 481-486.

Amrollahi Biuki, N.; Savari, A.; Mortazavi, M. S.; Zolgharnein, H. & Salamat, N. 2012. Liver histopathological changes in mikfish (Chanos chanos) exposed to petroleum hydrocarbon exposure. World Applied Sciences Journal 18(9): 1315-1320.

Bagarinao, T. 1994. Systematics, distribution, genetics and life history of milkfish, Chanos chanos. Environmental Biology of Fishes 39(1): 23-41.

Bagarinao, T.U. 1991. Biology of milkfish (Chanos chanos Forsskal). Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines. vii+94pp.

Bagheri, A.; Kamrani, E. & Esmaeili, H.R. 2010. Identified fishes of Kol River in Hormuzgan Province. Iranian Scientific Fisheries Journal 19(2): 143-148. In Farsi.

Bagnis, R.; Berglund, F.; Elias, P.S.; van Esch, G.J.; Halstead, B.W. & Kojima, K. 1970. Problems of toxicants in marine food products. 1. Marine biotoxins. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 42: 69-88.

Carpenter, K.E.; Krupp, F.; Jones, D.A. & Zajonz, U. 1997. Living Marine Resources of Kuwait, Eastern Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. FAO Species Identification Field Guide for Fishery Purposes, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome. viii+293pp., XVII plates.

Coad, B.W. 1981. First record of the milkfish, Chanos chanos (Forskal, 1775) from Iran and the Persian Gulf. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 77(3)(1980): 522-524.

Coad, B.W. 2014a. Review of the Freshwater Catfishes of Iran (Order Siluriformes). Iranian Journal of Ichthyology 1(4): 218-257.

Coad, B.W. 2014b. Review of the Spiny Eels of Iran (Family Mastacembelidae). Iranian Journal of Ichthyology 2(1): 1-12.

Esmaeili, H.R.; Coad, B.W.; Gholamifard, A.; Nazari, N. & Teimory, A. 2010. Annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Iran. Zoosystematica Rossica 19: 361–386.

Foroughifard (sic), H.A. 2001. Some ecological effects of milkfish (Chanos chanos) on Indian white shrimp (Penaeus indicus) farms. Pajouhesh va Sazandegi 14(1)(50): 38-43. In Farsi.

Forughi-e-Fard (sic), H. & Gharibnia, M. 1998. Culturing milkfish Chanos chanos (Forsskal, 1775) in earthen ponds (Tiyab). Iranian Fisheries Scientific Journal 6(4): 11-18, 2. In Farsi.

Fourooghi-e-Fard (sic), H. 2000. Culturing milkfish, Chanos chanos (Forsskal, 1775) in concrete tanks. Iranian Journal of Fisheries Sciences 9(3): 81-92. In Farsi.

Hesni, M.A.; Dadolahi-Sohrab, A.; Savari, A. & Mortazavi, M.S. 2011. Study the acute toxicity of lead nitrate metal salt on behavioral changes of the milkfish (Chanos chanos). World Journal of Fish & Marine Sciences 3(6): 496-501.

Hesni, M.A.; Savari, A.; Dadolahi, A. & Mortazavi, M.S. 2013. Gill histopathological alterations of milkfish (Chanos chanos) in acute toxicity of diesel oil. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 13(7): 870-875.

Hosseini, M.; Nabavi, S.M.B. & Parsa, Y. 2013. Bioaccumulation of trace mercury in trophic levels of benthic, benthopelagic, pelagic fish species, and sea birds from Arvand River, Iran. Biological Trace Element Research 156(1-3): 175-180.

Kiabi, B.H. & Abdoli, A. 2000. Fish distribution and abundance in the inland waters of Hormuzgan Province, Iran, with particular reference to endemic species in rivers. Polskie Archiwum Hydrobiologii 47(1): 87-98.

Klinkhardt, M.; Tesche, M. & Greven, H. 1995. Database of Fish Chromosomes. Westarp Wissenschaften, Magdeburg. 237pp.

McKinnon, M. & Vine, P. 1992. Tides of War. Eco-Disaster in the Gulf. Immel Publishing, London. 192 pp.

Robins, C.R.; Bailey, R.M.; Bond, C.E.; Brooker, J.R.; Lachner, E.A.; Lea, R.N. & Scott, W.B. 1991. World Fishes Important to North Americans Exclusive of Species from the Waters of the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society Special Publication, 21: viii+243pp.

Salehi, A. 1999. Survey on distribution and natural feeding of Chanos chanos fry in eastern part of Hormozgan Province, Iran. Iranian Journal of Fisheries Sciences 8(3): 69-86, 7. In Farsi.

Schuster, W.H. 1960. Synopsis of biological data on milkfish Chanos chanos (Forskal), 1775. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Fisheries Biology Synopsis 4: vi+58pp.

Taziekeh, A. 1999. Integrated shrimp culture (Penaeus indicus) with Chanos chanos in the Hormozgan Province, Iran. Iranian Journal of Fisheries Sciences 8(3): 53-68, 5-6. In Farsi.


  • There are currently no refbacks.