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: Linnaeus.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 1 - ? m (Ref. 248). Tropical; 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, Togo, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire; Gambia and lower Senegal rivers; Volta system; relict populations occur in Mauritania and southern Algeria (Ref. 248). Also in the lower Cross in Nigeria (Ref. 81644). 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)(Ref. 57129, 81644), 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 (Ref. 248). Pectoral spine slightly curved and robust (Ref. 248), serrated only on its outer side (Ref. 248, 81644), number of serrations increases with increasing standard length (Ref. 248). Lateral line appears as a small, white line running from posterior end of head to middle of caudal fin base (Ref. 248). Openings of secondary sensory canals (flank neuromasts) clearly marked, showing a regular pattern (Ref. 248, 81644).
Facultative air-breathing (Ref. 126274); 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 and Lower Guinea: 650mm TL (Ref. 57129, 81644).
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. 125652)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00813 (0.00649 - 0.01018), b=2.97 (2.92 - 3.02), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.4 ±0.51 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Assuming tm=2-4; Fec < 10,000).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (60 of 100).
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 46 [14, 194] mg/100g ; Iron = 1.11 [0.66, 1.93] mg/100g ; Protein = 16.9 [15.9, 17.8] % ; Omega3 = 0.171 [0.065, 0.467] g/100g ; Selenium = 151 [53, 500] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 32.5 [10.6, 92.9] μg/100g ; Zinc = 0.837 [0.523, 1.367] mg/100g (wet weight);