Milkfish, Chanos chanos (Forsskål 1775)

Other Names: Bandang, Bangos, Bukkariba, Buruna, Giant Herring, Milk-fish, Moreton Bay Salmon, Salmon Herring

Milkfish, Chanos chanos - Hawaii. Source: Ken Tam / Flickr. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


A large silvery streamlined fish with a deeply forked caudal fin, an olive-green to bluish back and pale to yellowish dorsal, anal and caudal fins with dark margins. The eye is covered by thick transparent 'adipose' tissue.

Milkfish are a very important food fish in Asia and Southeast Asia where they have been farmed for centuries.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Chanos chanos in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Jun 2024,

Milkfish, Chanos chanos (Forsskål 1775)

More Info


Meristic features: Dorsal fin II, 13-17; Anal fin II, 8-10; Pelvic fin 11-12; Lateral line scales 75-91; Branchiostegals rays 4.

Body elongate, moderately compressed, smooth and streamlined; eye covered with transparent 'adipose' tissue; mouth small, terminal, teeth absent; lower jaw with small tubercle at tip, fitting into notch in upper jaw; no bony gular plate between arms of lower jaw. Gill rakers fine and numerous.

Dorsal fin single, short-based, at about midbody; anal fin short-based, positioned far back on body; caudal fin large, deeply forked with large scale flaps at base in adults;pectoral fins low on body with axillary (inner basal) scales; pelvic fins abdominal with axillary scales.

Scales cycloid, small, smooth; no scutes (modified pointed scales) along belly.


A very important food fish, especially in SE Asia


Dianne J. Bray

Milkfish, Chanos chanos (Forsskål 1775)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.

Bagarinao, T.U. 1991. Biology of Milkfish (Chanos chanos Forsskal). Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre. Pp. 94.

Bagarino, T. 1999. Chanidae. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-vi, 1398-2068.

Blaber, S.J.M. 1980. Fish of the Trinity inlet system of North Queensland with notes on the ecology of fish faunas of tropical Indo-Pacific estuaries. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwater. Res. 31: 137-146.

Hobbs, J-P.A., Ayling, A.M., Choat, J.H., Gilligan, J.J, McDonald, C.A., Neilson, J. & Newman, S.J. 2010. New records of marine fishes illustrate the biogeographic importance of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 2422: 63-68.

Leis, J.M. & S.E. Reader. 1991. Distributional ecology of larval milkfish, Chanos chanos (Pisces, Chanidae) in the Lizard Island Region. Environmental Biology of Fishes 30(4): 395-405.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. 557p.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37142001

Depth:0-30 m

Habitat:Marine, estuarine (&freshwater)

Max Size:180 cm

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