Introduction: Rita rita is a freshwater catfish under threat of extinction, mainly from loss of breeding and nursing grounds. A reliable method for age and growth estimation is needed by fishery managers. Objective: To identify the best body structure for age and growth estimation. Methods: We assessed estimates precision based on Average Percent Error (APE), Coefficient Variation (CV), and Percent Agreement (PA) between readers separately analyzed each calcified structure. We used 390 fish samples from three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Ramganga, from September 2018 to August 2019. Results: The three indicators favored the use of vertebrae for age estimation; the growth band seems to be annual and formed from May to September. The growth equations were Lt = 90.19(1-e-0.145(t+0.51)) for Ganga; Lt = 91.19 (1-e-0.14(t+0.59)) for Yamuna and Lt = 89.63 (1-e-0.15(t+0.68)) for Ramganga. Conclusion: This species reaches moderate growth in these rivers, where vertebrae are the recommended age estimation structure, followed, in case of need, by sectioned otoliths, whole otoliths and opercular bones. Pectoral spines should be avoided, especially in older fish.
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