Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes
(Catfish) > Clariidae
Etymology: Clarias: Greek, chlaros = lively, in reference to the ability of the fish to live for a long time out of water.
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 1 - ? m (Ref. 248). Tropical, preferred ?; 32°N - 5°N
Africa: lower and middle Nile; Chad system including the Logone and the Shari rivers; Niger and Benoue river systems; coastal rivers of Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire; Gambia and lower Senegal rivers; Volta system; relict populations occur in Mauritania and southern Algeria. Trade restricted in FRG.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 100.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3799); max. published weight: 7.0 kg (Ref. 3799)
soft rays: 42 - 61. Diagnosis: 16-50 gill rakers on first gill arch (much more reduced compared to Clarias gariepinus), subject to geographical variations (Ref. 57129). Head oval-shaped to rectangular in dorsal outline; snout broadly rounded; eyes rather lateral in position and, together with relatively broad head, make for a relatively large interorbital distance; number of gill rakers on first branchial arch subject to much variation, 16-40, rarely exceeding 40; dorsal fin base situated close to occipital process; dorsal fin always terminates before caudal fin base, distance between both small; anal fin originates closer to caudal fin base than to tip of snout, nearly reaching caudal fin but never confluent; pelvic fin base slightly closer to tip of snout than to caudal fin base, reaching base of first anal fin rays; pectoral fin extend from operculum to base of first dorsal fin rays; pectoral spine slightly curved and robust, serrated only on its outer side, number of serrations increases with increasing standard length; lateral line appears as a small, white line running from posterior end of head to middle of caudal fin base; openings of secondary sensory canals clearly marked, showing a regular pattern (Ref. 248).
Very common in inundated areas. Bury themselves in the mud when the pools are drying up. Feed mainly on fish and mollusks; also crustaceans, diatoms, detritus and bottom organisms (Ref. 248). Omnivorous and reproduction takes place in the rainy saison (Ref. 78218). Max. size for West Africa: 650mm TL (Ref. 57129).
Breeding season varies among localities, apparently timed to the rainy season.
Teugels, G.G., 1986. A systematic revision of the African species of the genus Clarias (Pisces; Clariidae). Ann. Mus. R. Afr. Centr., Sci. Zool., 247:199 p. (Ref. 248)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00741 (0.00493 - 0.01116), b=3.03 (2.91 - 3.15), based on LWR estimates for this Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.4 ±0.51 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Assuming tm=2-4; Fec < 10,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (54 of 100) .