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Bathyclarias foveolatus (Jackson, 1955)

Image contributors to this species:

Michael K. Oliver (3) Eccles, D.H. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Tanzania (1)

ScotCat Sources:

Etymology = Genus

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

Occurs at a depth of 30m and deeper, (hence the genus name) in rocky areas. Feeds on rock-inhabiting species during the night. Prefers rocky substrates and feeds exclusively on fish. 1. This unusual, pockmarked deepwater catfish is Bathyclarias foveolatus. The specimen (USNM 265800) was collected 21 July 1980 off Nkhata Bay, Malawi by M.K. Oliver, K. McKaye, and T. Kocher and was alive when I photographed it. So far as I can determine, this is the only museum specimen collected since the species was described from three type specimens by Peter B.N. Jackson (1955). The small, laterally placed eyes that bulge out from the outline of the head, a key characteristic for distinguishing Bathyclarias from Clarias, can be seen in the close-up of the head at right. B. foveolatus (called "Chimwamapumba" locally) is piscivorous according to Jackson (1961), who remarks that "it is probably sluggish in habits, skulking among the rocks and mud at great depths; it is invariably caught in the bottom few meshes of deep-set gill nets. Of no economic importance as many Africans refuse to eat it, fearing that smallpox might be contracted from its pock-marked skin. 1. (From Michael K. Oliver; http://malawicichlids.com/mw11025.htm). Remarks: The Bathyglanis genus contains 12 species with the type of the genus Clarius longibarbus Worthington, 1933. The species of the Dinotopterus genera are very similar but are found in Lake Tanganyika.

Common Name:



Clarias foveolatus, Dinotopterus foveolatus




Africa: Endemic to Lake Malawi. Known to occur at Nkhata Bay, Likoma Island & the southeast & southwest arms of the Lake.


75cm. (30ins)


22-25°C (71-77°F)




Seegers, L. 2008 The catfishes of Africa. A handbook for identification and maintenance. Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany. 604 p.
Kasembe, J. 2006. Bathyclarias foveolatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>.
Michael K. Oliver; http://malawicichlids.com/mw11025.htm



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