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Clarias theodorae Weber, 1897

Image contributors to this species:

Russell Brian Tate (1) Eccles, D.H. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Tanzania (1)

ScotCat Sources:

Etymology = Genus

Other Sources:

FishbaseGoogle Search All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

Description: Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 78-92; Anal soft rays: 64 - 76; Vertebrae: 56 - 61. Head rectangular in dorsal outline; snout broadly rounded; eyes dorsally located. Frontal fontanelle `knife-shaped'; occipital fontanelle very long and oval-shaped. The `dermosphenotic' and supraorbital bones become joined in specimens of 80-90 mm SL. Tooth plates relatively small. Dorsal and anal fins not confluent with caudal fins. gill rakers relatively long, slender and distantly set. Openings of the secondary sensory canals arranged in regular pattern on the flanks. Clarias theodorae is a demersal species that lives in vegetated areas in small swamps and streams. It also occurs in delta areas and lagoons of rivers. Occasionally it is found in cataracts, hiding under rocks (Teugels 1986). It is one of the species that is associated with floating islands that break adrift from peripheral marshes. Such floating islands may assist in the dispersal of this species in Lake Malawi. It feeds mostly on insects (Coleoptera, ants, Chironomid larvae) (Teugels 1986, Konings 1990) and occasionally small fish. Remarks: Can be told apart from Clarias gariepinus. The dorsal fin between top and middle in C. theodorae it is all the way to the caudal tail, and the head is shorter compared to C. gariepinus.

Common Name:

Snake catfish


Clarias theodorae, Clarias amplexicauda, Clarias fouloni, Clarias macrurus


Clariidae blycipitidae


Africa: Zambezi, Kafue and Shire Rivers; Upper Congo system; Lakes Tanganyika, Bangweulu, Kobo, Niumbe, Mweru and Malawi; Chobe, Okavango and Cunene Rivers; Pungwe, Sabi, Lundi Rivers and Zimbabwean tributaries of the Limpopo River; Incomati, Pongolo and Umgeni rivers and Lake Sibaya in Natal and Transvaal tributaries of the Limpopo. Also in the middle Congo, including the Ubangi and (upper) Kasai.


35cm. (14ins)


23-28C (73-83F)




Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009. FishBase.World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (09/2016).
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.
Kazembe, J., Marshall, B., Moelants, T., Ntakimazi, G. & Tweddle, D. 2010. Clarias theodorae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T181632A7693639. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-3.RLTS.T181632A7693639.en.
Tate, R. Brian: pers comm.



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