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 Sciades seemanni (Günther, 1864)

Image contributors to this species:

Bill McBurnie (3) Peru Aquarium Group (1) Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library (2) Choy Heng Wah (3)

ScotCat Sources:


Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory  Catalog of Fishes Wikipedia

Relevant Information:

The classification of species within the Ariidae is arguably the most poorly resolved of any catfish family. In recent years, there have been three independent attempts to examine the phylogeny of the family (Marceniuk, 2003; Kailola, 2004; and Betancur et al., 2004) and produce classifications that reflect the resulting phylogenetic hypotheses (see Ferraris 2007). Listed in this paper as Ariopsis seemanni. From Marceniuk et al 2007, the species of Sciades can be differentiated from all other genera of the Ariidae by the combination of the following exclusive (1 to 5) and shared (6 to 8) characters: (1) medial groove of neurocranium delimited mostly or exclusively by frontal bones (fig. 90); (2) temporal fossa very reduced or entirely closed during ontogenetic development (fig. 90) (with exception of Sciades leptaspis); (3) otic capsules little developed; (4) space between transcapular process and otic capsule very wide; (5) subvertebral process indistinct or little differentiated; (6) posterior cranial fontanel absent (fig. 90) (with exception of Sciades platypogon and shared with Batrachocephalus); (7) epiphyseal bar indistinct (with exception of Sciades platypogon and shared with Batrachocephalus); (8) exoccipital posterior process sutured to Muller’s ramus (with exception of Sciades platypogon and shared with Potamarius izabalensis). Aquarium Care: Small specimens are not a problem in aquaria but when they get bigger they get restless and will require a larger tank for swimming space and also a requirement for added salt as they grow into adulthood. The problem with adults is in the wild they are found around the marine coastlines of Central America and only the males with their mouth brooding eggs will go up the freshwater rivers to lay their eggs before returning to saltier conditions. Provide caves for hiding, a dark substrate and low lighting. Will need good filtration with a swift current. Diet: Omnivore: insect larvae, frozen foods such as mosquito larvae, tubifex and bloodworm. Tablet and flake foods are also taken. Remarks: In Fishbase this species is listed as Ariopes seemanni and in the Catalog of Fishes the current status is Sciades seemanni.

Common Name:

Shark Cat,, Jordans Catfish, Colombian Shark, Tete sea catfish.


Arius seemanni, Tachysurus seemani, Arius jordani, Hexanematichthys seemani


Ariidae mblycipitidae


Western America: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Type locality: Central America (Pacific).


35cm. SL (14ins) but can grow larger in the wild.


22-26°c (71-79°f )


7.0 -8.0.


Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl 1985 Aquarien atlas. Band 2. Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde GmbH, Melle, Germany. 1216 p.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
ScotCat Factsheet no. 161. Nov. 2009
Marceniuk P. Alexandre & Menzes A. Naircio. Systematics of the family Ariidae (Ostariophysi, Siluriformes), with a redefinition of the genera (Zootaxa 1416) 126 pp.; 30 cm. 2007



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