The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Xenentodon cancila
Xenentodon cancila
(Asian needlefish)

Copyright Info
Xenentodon cancila (Hamilton, 1822)

Common name: Asian needlefish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Key and distinguishing characteristics appeared in Smith (1945) and Talwar and Jhingran (1992).

Size: 40 cm.

Native Range: Fresh water, tropical Asia. Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand (Talwar and Jhingran 1992). Loas (Baird 1999).
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Xenentodon cancila are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†

Table last updated 5/28/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release.

Status: Established in Hawaii.

Impact of Introduction: During the summer of 1989, Xenentodon in Hawaii were preying on largemouth bass (also introduced), to the extent that the bass population appeared to be threatened (Devick 1991b).

Remarks: This species displays sexual dimorphism and spawns throughout the year in Hawaii. These needlefish apparently cannot survive outside of the reservoir and are unlikely to do well during an extended reservoir drawdown (Devick 1991b). Courtenay et al. (1991) and Robins et al. (1991b) incorrectly reported Strongylura kreffti, the long tom, as having been introduced into Hawaii based on an early tentative identification of X. cancila (W. Devick, personal communication). Voucher specimens: Hawaii (USNM 308225).

References: (click for full references)

Courtenay, W. R., Jr., D. P. Jennings, and J. D. Williams. 1991. Appendix 2: exotic fishes. Pages 97-107 in Robins, C. R., R. M. Bailey, C. E. Bond, J. R. Brooker, E. A. Lachner, R. N. Lea, and W. B. Scott. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada, 5th edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 20. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Devick, W.S. - Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Devick, W. S. 1991b. Patterns of introductions of aquatic organisms to Hawaiian freshwater habitats. Pages 189-213 in new directions in research, management and conservation of Hawaiian freshwater stream ecosystems. Proceedings of the 1990 symposium on freshwater stream biology and fisheries management, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Robins, C. R., R. M. Bailey, C. E. Bond, J. R. Brooker, E. A. Lachner, R. N. Lea, and W. B. Scott. 1991b. World fishes important to North Americans exclusive of species from the continental waters of the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 21. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 243 pp.

Smith, H. M. 1945. The fresh-water fishes of Siam, or Thailand. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum (Smithsonian Institution) 188:1-622.

Talwar, P. K., and A. G. Jhingran, editors. 1992. Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Two volumes.

FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 3/6/2011

Peer Review Date: 3/6/2011

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Xenentodon cancila (Hamilton, 1822): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=325, Revision Date: 3/6/2011, Peer Review Date: 3/6/2011, Access Date: 5/30/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [5/30/2024].

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