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Galeichthys ater Castelnau, 1861

Image contributors to this species:

Gareth Roocroft (3)

ScotCat Sources:

Etymology = Genus Etymology = Species

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 19 - 22. This species is distinguished with the following characters: short head, nearly as broad as long; blunt snout, well-rounded in lateral profile and dorsally; palatal tooth patches posterior to premaxillary tooth band meet at midline; rounded caudal-fin lobes, of near equal length, fin not deeply forked; short and thick caudal peduncle; underside of body (both head and belly) covered with fine brown specks; anterior gill-rakers on first arch 10-13 (5 + 5); pectoral fin rays 9-12; fatty growth along pectoral fin spines of breeding females not present outside spawning season. Dimorphism present with posterior (humeral) process of cleithrum obvious externally, fan-shaped in females, triangular in males; smooth and shallow dorsomedian cranial depression on exposed skull not reaching supraoccipital process. As it's name suggests, the Black Seacatfish is a dark coloured fish and can be any colour from a dark brown to almost black. The tail of the Black Seacatfish is not as forked as other Seacatfishes and is more round. The colour underneath this fish is slightly lighter than the colour on it's back, always dark. Often small speckles can be seen on the underbelly of this fish. The Black Seacatfish can easily be confused with the White Seacatfish ( G. feliceps) if certain aspects are overlooked when identifying this fish. The White Seacatfish is duller in appearance, a lighter colour and can be dark brown, but never black in the region. It has a light coloured or white underbelly and often comes in big schools of fish. This species is also frequently encountered in estuaries and shallower water. Remarks: It is Said not to be in rivers estuaries and shallow water, however we are starting to disprove this, and it is our goal to prove this 100%.( Roocroft, Gareth: http://www.fishthesea.co.za/research/blackseacatfish.) Known to be paternal mouthbrooders.

Common Name:

Black Sea Catfish






Africa: Marine; reef-associated. Southeast Atlantic: South Africa and Namibia. Type locality: es mers du Cap [South Africa]


45cm Total Length. (18ins)


Subtropical 34°S - 35°S




Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2011. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version
Kulongowski, C., 2010. Revision of the ariid catfish genus Galeichthys Valenciennes (subfamily Galeichthyinae), with description of a new species from South Africa and designation of a neotype for G. ater Castelnau. Smithiania Bull. (12):9-23.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Seegers, L. 2008 The catfishes of Africa. A handbook for identification and maintenance. Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany. 604 p.
Roocroft, Gareth; http://www.fishthesea.co.za/research/blackseacatfish.htm




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