stay on the African continent this month but instead
of sticking with the Mochokidae family from last month
(June 2005) we move on to a newish family, Claroteidae.
The Giraffe Catfish was a member of the African-Asian
Bagridae family until 1991 when Mo split it up and
constructed a new family, Claroteidae, for the African
"Bagrid" can grow to an impressive 46cm
(18¼ins) but it is basically a gentle giant
and can be trusted with anything that can not fit
into its small mouth. Its long pointed snout is well
adapted to "sook" up worms and detritus
in the sandy substrate and as such you should provide
your specimen(s) with a sand floor to your aquarium
with an external power filter that has a good flow
rate. It goes without saying of course that you will
need to provide this catfish with a spacious tank
considering its adult size.
is very tolerant to most water parameters and as such
you can keep it in a low p.H. (6.5) with larger Characins
or Barbs or even in a Lake Tanganyika setup with Cichlids
from that lake in harder water, but my choice would
be to stick with the former soft and acidic conditions
for a more contented individual(s).
Above you can
see a specimen that I photographed from the Port Doree
Public Aquarium in Paris, France which was captioned
as A. occidentalis but it may represent another
close member of this family, Parauchenoglanis
2010: Teugels et al. (1991) considered the
genus Auchenoglanis to be comprised of two
valid species: A. biscutatus and A. occidentalis.Due to the work carried out recently (2010) by
Michael Retzer there are now 8 in this genus with
six new species, A. acuticeps, A.
occidentalis, A. sacchii, A.
The main description for A. occidentalis
is that it can be differentiated from all other congeners
(except A. tchadiensis) by having a
uniformly coloured body. It differs from A. tchadiensis
by having oval-shaped tooth patches on the upper jaw
vs.triangular for A. tchadiensis.
2021: The taxonomic history of the African catfish
genus Auchenoglanis includes eight nominal
species, with two of these, Auchenoglanis biscutatus
and Auchenoglanis occidentalis, being recognised
as valid by most authors. The validity of all eight
species was recently established based on mainly
pigmentation-related characters and the shape of
the premaxillary tooth plates. As these results
opposed previous works but lacked any mention of
these, the species diversity in the genus was re-evaluated
based on biometric, meristic and other morphological
data. It reconfirms the status of only two valid
species within the genus. Auchenoglanis occidentalis
ranks among the African fish species with very large
distribution areas, being present from Senegal to
Tanzania. Auchenoglanis biscutatus is distinguished
from A. occidentalis by a postorbital head
length that is greater than the preorbital head
length, an adipose fin that rises abruptly, and
a maxillary barbel with a tip not darker than the
head colour (Geerinckx & Vreven
biscutata, A.biscutatus, A.occidentalis, Auchenoglanis
biscutatus, Pimelodus occidentalis, A. biscutatus
occidentalis, Auchenoglanis occidentalis occidentalis,
Oxyglanis sacchii, Auchenoglanis occidentalis
var. tanganicanus, A. occidentalis tchadiensis, A.
tchadensis, A. scutatus, A. acuticeps, A. wittei,
A. occidentalis tanganyikanus, A. vittatus, A.
acuticeps, A. tanganyikanus.
Casamange and Gambia river drainages in western Africa..
spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7-8;
Anal spines: 3-4; Anal soft rays: 7-8. Head large
with heavily built body. The upper jaw has oval-shaped
The main description for
A. occidentalis is that it can be differentiated
from all other congeners by having a uniformly
Care & Compatibility
Best suited to the larger aquarium.
Peaceful large catfish which will do well in company
of larger characins from
Africa and large Barbs.
No reports on
the breeding of this species in captivity as it would
need a very large tank with a number of individuals.
In its natural habitat the nested
eggs are guarded by the male. Furthermore, the male
plays host to eggs and young of Dinotopterus cunningtoni,
a member of the Claridae catfish family, which takes
advantage of the already prepared nest and feeds on
the host brood.
Will eat a variety of foods.
Tablet and pellet foods with a good quality flake
and frozen bloodworms. Also
relishes live worms such as the common garden worm,
making sure that there has been no weedkiller on the
premises, and white worm.
Auchen; auchenos = neck; glanis = catfish. occidentalis: Pertaining
to the west; from the west.
R. and D. Pauly.
Editors. 2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic
publication. www.fishbase.org, version (10/2009). Retzer, ME (2010) Taxonomy of Auchenoglanis
Günther 1865 (Siluriformes: Auchenoglanididae).
Zootaxa 2655, pp. 25–51. Sandford, Gina & Crow, Richard:
The Interpet Manual of Tank Busters, Salamander Book,
p110-111. Tom Geerinckx & Emmanuel Vreven
(2013) A re-evaluation of the species-level diversity
within the catfish genus Auchenoglanis (Siluriformes:
Claroteidae), Journal of Natural History, 47:47-48,