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What is Our National Fish?

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Last updated date: 21st Jul 2024
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Introduction to Ganges River Dolphin

The National Fish or the National Aquatic Animal of India is the Ganges River Dolphin. It is the official animal of the Indian city of Guwahati. The biological name of this dolphin is Platanista gangetica. It is most commonly known as 'susu'. It is called 'sisu' in the Assamese language and 'shishuk' in the Bengali Language. In Indian mythology, it is associated with Ganga and is depicted as her banana or animal carriage.

The Ganges River Dolphin- The National Fish of our Country

The Ganges River Dolphin- The National Fish of our Country

Ganges River Dolphin

The Ganges River Dolphin is a species of toothed whale. They have rectangular, ridgelike dorsal fins. They have elongated, slender snouts with very sharp and pointed teeth. They have a round belly and broad flippers, and tail flukes. The females are larger than the male. They are usually tan, chocolate brown or light blue. They can only live in freshwater and are essentially blind. But they became blind due to evolution by living in muddy river water for millions of years.

They have highly developed SONAR capabilities, also known as echolocation. Echolocation is the ability by which they can emit and receive the echoes of sound waves that bounce off any objects close to them in the water. They are usually 7 to 8 ft long. They live up to 30 years.

They have sharp and pointed teeth

They have sharp and pointed teeth

They are split into two subspecies- the Ganges River Dolphin and the Indus River Dolphin.

Scientific Classification

Given below is the scientific classification of the Ganges River Dolphin.

Binomial Name: Platanista Gangetica

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Cetartiodactyla

Family: Platanistidae

Genus: Platanista

Species: Gangetica

The Ganges River Dolphins are considered in class Mammalia because they are mammals, and unlike fishes, The Ganges River Dolphins do not have gills. To breathe, they have lungs and surfaces above the water every 30-40 seconds. They give birth to live babies rather than laying eggs, and feed them with milk. They are classified in the phylum Chordata because they have backbones.

Where are They Found?

The Ganges River Dolphins are primarily found in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu rivers of Bangladesh and India. They are also found in the Sapta Koshi and Karnali Rivers in Nepal. The Indus river dolphin is found only in the main channel of the Indus River in Pakistan and River Beas, a tributary of the Indus, in Punjab in India.

The Behaviour of Dolphins

The Ganges River dolphins are shy creatures. They usually come in pairs or groups; if they are single, they don't come near boats and stay hidden. Given their blindness, they use echolocation to navigate and hunt their prey.

Dolphin Captivity is Illegal in India

Dolphin Captivity is Illegal in India

Learning by Doing

Choose the correct answer

1. The Ganges River Dolphin is a species of toothed whale.



2. What is the colour of the Ganges River Dolphin?

A.Chocolate brown


C.Light blue

D.All of the above.

Solved Questions

1. How many species of the Ganges River Dolphin are there?

Ans: There are two subspecies of the Ganges River Dolphin:

  • Ganges river dolphin 

  • Indus river dolphin.

2. What is the most popular name for the Ganges River Dolphin?

Ans: The most popular name for the Ganges River Dolphin is susu.


The Ganges River Dolphins or susu are considered to be in danger due to violent human activities. They have decreased in population. The government of India has introduced many projects to conserve our National Aquatic Animals. The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest has forbidden their captivity for entertainment purposes.

FAQs on What is Our National Fish?

1. Where was the Ganges River Dolphin First sighted?

The occurrence of Ganges River Dolphin was first sighted in the Hooghly river.

2. What habitat do the Ganges River Dolphins prefer?

The Ganges River Dolphins usually favour deep pools.

3. What do the Ganges River Dolphins eat?

The Ganges River Dolphins eat prawns, fish like carp, mahseer and sharks. They also eat birds and turtles.