This study reports the results on induced meiotic diploid gynogenesis and female homogametic nature in the Indian catfish, Heteropneustes fossilis. The eggs of H. fossilis were inseminated with conspecific sperm. The sperm suspension was diluted to 1 × 107 sperm mL-1 in Hanks balanced salt solution. Sperm were irradiated under UV light, with the exposure time ranging from 15 to 360 s (7500 ergs mm-2 for 60 s). The genetic inactivation of paternal chromosomes was confirmed by chromosome counting from the larval cells and the larvae also had a characteristic haploid syndrome. A typical 'Hertwig effect' in the yield of hatched larvae was observed with doses of UV exposure >75 s (9375 ergs mm2). Larvae resulting from sperm UV irradiated above 120 s (15 000 ergs mm2) were 100% haploids. Application of heat shock to the activated eggs was effective in suppressing the release of the second polar body (meiotic gynogenesis) and resulted in diploid gynogenetic larvae morphologically identical to those of the control. The best yield of diploid gynogens (49.3% with respect to the control) was found to be at 6 min after egg activation and the heat shock at 41 °C for a 1-min duration, at an ambient water temperature of 27 °C. A total of 113 diploid gynogenetic fry from seven different female fish were reared and subjected to sexing. All gynogenetic fish were female in contrast to the control, which had a mean sex ratio of 56.7% females (which was not significantly different from 50% female). From these results, the sex determination mechanism in H. fossilis was presumed to be female homogamety. © 2010 The Authors. Aquaculture Research © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.