Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes
(Catfishes) > Clariidae
Etymology: Clarias: Greek, chlaros = lively, in reference to the ability of the fish to live for a long time out of water. More on author: Castelnau.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; brackish; demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range - m (Ref. ), usually - m (Ref. ). Tropical; 0°C - ; 11°S - 27°S
Africa: Quanza, Cunene, Okavango, Chobe, Lake Ngami, upper Zambezi (above Victoria Falls), Kafue, Lake Malawi, upper Lualaba, Luapula, Lakes Moero and Bangweulu, Pungwe, Buzi, Save, Limpopo, Incomati, lower Pongolo and lower Sabi/Lundi system (Ref. 248). Also reported from the lower Shire (Ref. 7248)
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 73.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7248); max. published weight: 4.0 kg (Ref. 7248)
soft rays: 50 - 58;
Vertebrae: 56 - 60. Characterized by a relatively long vomerine tooth plate (5.9-14.4 % HL) and by a relatively short adipose fin (5.9-12.5 % SL), the length of which is a specific character of C. ngamensis. Head oval to rectangular in dorsal outline; frontal fontanelle long and narrow (`knife-shaped'); occipital fontanelle small and oval-shaped. Pectoral spine robust and slightly curved. The suprabranchial organ consists of well developed arborescent structures.
The species seems to be nowhere especially abundant but is fairly common in some areas such as weed beds, permanent swamps, quieter waters and muddy bottoms (Ref. 248, 5595). Prefers vegetated habitats. Feeding habits overlap considerably with the sharptooth catfish. Important foods are mollusks, terrestrial and aquatic insects, insect larvae, shrimps, grain, crabs and fish (Ref. 4967, 78218). Feeds on snails (Ref. 5595). Hard-shelled foods such as mussels are crushed before they are swallowed. Breeds during the summer rainy season. May live for 5-6 years (Ref. 7248). Also caught with drawnets (Ref. 4967).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Breeding is reportedly flood dependent and similar to that of C. gariepinus.
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. 124695)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00759 (0.00389 - 0.01479), b=2.99 (2.82 - 3.16), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 4.3 ±0.5 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.22-0.41).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (36 of 100) .
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 88 [28, 334] mg/100g ; Iron = 1.07 [0.58, 2.00] mg/100g ; Protein = 16.8 [15.6, 17.9] % ; Omega3 = 0.335 [0.126, 0.901] g/100g ; Selenium = 143 [46, 501] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 29.8 [8.9, 99.1] μg/100g ; Zinc = 0.712 [0.416, 1.179] mg/100g (wet weight);