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Clarias anguillaris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Image contributors to this species:

Karsten Mody (2)

ScotCat Sources:

Etymology = Genus

Other Sources:

FishbaseGoogle SearchAll Catfish Species Inventory  


Relevant Information:

Characteristics: Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 60 - 82; Anal soft rays: 42 - 61. The head is oval-shaped to rectangular in dorsal outline; the snout is broadly rounded. The eyes have a rather lateral position and together with the relatively broad head, make for a relatively large interorbital distance. The number of gill rakers on the first branchial arch is subject to much variation, between 16 and 40; it rarely exceeds 40. The dorsal fin base is situated close to the occipital process; the dorsal fin always terminates before the caudal fin base and the distance between both is small. The anal fin originates closer to the caudal fin base than to the tip of the snout; although nearly reaching the caudal fin, it is never confluent with it. The pelvic fin base is slightly closer to the tip of the snout than to the caudal fin base; it reaches the base of the first anal fin rays. The pectoral fin extand from the operculum to the base of the first dorsal fin rays; the pectoral spine is slightly curved and robust, being serrated only on its outer side; the number of serrations increases with increasing standard length. The lateral line appears as a small, white line running from the posterior end of the head to the middle of the caudal fin base; the openings of the secondary sensory canals are clearly marked, showing a regular pattern. Colour: Two colour patterns can be discerned: the uniform and the marbled pattern. In the uniform pattern, the specimens are uniform dark-brown, blackish brown or reddish brown on their dorsal side and on the flanks as well as on the upper surface of the paired fins; the belly and the lower surface of the paired fins are light brownish to beige. In the marbled pattern, the back and the flanks show irregular dark blotches on a light coloured background; the belly and the ventral parts of the paired fins are whitish. Most specimens have pigmentation bands on both sides of the lower surface of the head. A series of light and dark bands may occur on the caudal fin; the proximal third of the fin is lightly coloured, while the rest is darkly coloured; occasionally, irregular black spots may occur on the caudal fin and on the caudal peduncle. Habitat: Very common in inundated areas. Bury themselves in the mud when the pools are drying up. Feeds mainly on fish and mollusks; also crustaceans, diatoms, detritus and bottom organisms. Remarks: Similar to C. gariepinus. Clarias anguillaris was collected by Hasselqvist in the Nile and sent back to his mentor Linnaeus in Sweden, so that he could add this species to his collection of animals and plants.

Common Name:



Silurus anguillaris, Clarias hasselquistii, Clarias senegalensis, Clarias parvimanus, Clarias budgetti, Clarias anguillaris nigeriensis.


Clariidae blycipitidae


Africa: Niger, Benoue, Gambia, lower Senegal and lower and middle Nile Rivers; Chad system; coastal rivers of Benin, Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire; and relict populations in Mauritania and southern Algeria. Type locality: Nile.


100cm. TL. (3ft 4ins)


20-25C (68-77F)




Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009. FishBase.World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (11/2010).
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
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.
Seegers, L. 2008 The catfishes of Africa. A handbook for identification and maintenance. Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany. 604 p



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