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Summary

Ages were estimated from otoliths, opercular bones, scales, and vertebrae of 514 specimens of Channa punctata from three Indian rivers – the Ganga, Gomti, and Yamuna – to evaluate the potential bias of age estimates between readers and between pairs of aging structures. Standard procedures were followed to prepare and study the age structures. Among all structures, otoliths showed highest (97.4%) values of agreement between readers' age estimates followed by the opercular bones (89.5%), scales (84.2%) and vertebrae (78.9%). Because of the highest percentage of agreement and lowest average percentage of error (0.05%) and coefficient of variation (0.76%) values between readers, otoliths were considered the most suitable aging structure for C. punctata. When otoliths ages were compared with those of the other structures viz., opercular bones, scales and vertebrae, percentage of agreement was found highest between estimates (90.8%) of otoliths and opercular bones.