Strange Behaviour of Murrel
On 1 March 1991, at about 0830 hrs I, along with two friends, was walking along the shallow shore of a lake watching aquatic birds. Near the shore we came across a small, discarded wooden boat partly submerged in the lake.
On 1 March 1991, at about 0830 hrs I, along with two friends, was walking along the shallow shore of a lake watching aquatic birds. Near the shore we came across a small, discarded wooden boat partly submerged in the lake. All the sides of the boat were above the water but inside there was water filled up to three-fourths its length. As we approached the boat a fish jumped out of it and landed in the lake. I examined the boat for other fishes but there were none inside. The stagnant water inside the boat was full of small larvae, probably of mosquitoes.
We retreated about 20m from the boat to find out what kind of fish it was and how it had entered the boat. Within seven minutes a fish broke water and landed inside the boat. When I tried to approach the boat close enough to watch the fish it again jumped from it and escaped in the lake. This was repeated five times. I could make out that it was a Murrel, but could not identify the species.
After sometime we saw another boat with fishermen. We hailed them and requested them to catch this fish. When the Murrel returned to the boat, one of the fishermen threw a net over it and caught the fish by hand. It was identified as Channa striatus.
After that we dragged the boat out of the water and found that, except for two holes of about 3×2 cm, the entire bottom was intact. How the Murrel came to know that there was water inside the boat with plenty of food in the form of larvae is still a mystery to me.
Published in Journal of Bombay Natural History Society:
Tehsin, R. H. (1992) Strange Behaviour Of A Murrel Channa striatus (B. L.). J. Bom. Nat. Hist. Soc. 89(3): 383