With the alias of elephant
fish, it is a member of the Polyodontidae family of Acipenseriformes order. Its
Latin scientific name is Psephurus gladius.
It is a large fresh water fish
with maximal weight of hundreds of kilograms. Its body is spindle-shaped with
flat forehead and tail. It has a big head and a long snout in the shape of
sword. Its body surface is bare with no scales, eyes are thin and small, and a
pair of beards is on the ventral side of snout. The mouth fissure is large. The
starting point of back fin is behind the starting point of the correspondent
ventral fin. Both back fin and ventral fin are composed of non-branching fin
rays. Its tail fin is oblique, with the upper lobe longer than the lower one.
The head, body back and tail fin are steel gray, but its belly is white.
It has the habit of upstream
migration. Its breeding season is during March and April. It is a ferocious
animal, feeding on fishes and shrimps. It has a tremendous appetite and can eat
as much as 5% of its weight each time.
Chinese Paddlefish lives in
the Yangtze River, Qiantang River and shoal zones along the East China Sea.