The Chilwas are bright silvery fishes with elongated compressed bodies. The abdominal surface narrows to a fine edge. The mouth is turned upwards and the lower jaw prominent. There is a small nob at the juncture of the jaw bones. The dorsal fin is short, has no bony rays and is set far back almost opposite the anal.
Dinstinctive characters ; D. 9-10. A. 17-19. L. 1. 43-45. L. tr. 6-1/2-7/3.
The lower jaw does not project. The dorsal fin is situated over the commencement of the anal. The pectoral fin reaches the ventral. The lateral line descends gradually from the first 12 scales, finally attaining the centre of the caudal.
Colour : Silvery with a lateral band which fades after death. Caudal and anal fins with dark edges.
Chela argentea is a fish of the rivers of eastern and south India. It should be introduced to all waters as these fish form the natural food of Mahseer, Murrel, etc. They would have a beneficial effect on fresh water tanks and reservoirs as they explore the shallowest depths in search of insect food and are a check on mosquitoes. Four species occur in the waters of Bombay area.