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Liobagrus marginatus (Günther, 1892)

his month (Feb.2007) we cover a family that I have included for the first time on the monthly factsheet series. namely Amblycipitidae, a family of loach shaped catfishes from Southern Asia, China, Taiwan and Japan. We concentrate for the first time on the species, Liobagrus marginatus.

Liobagrus marginatus


As you can see on the above image the strange bulbous head that this species and others from the genus adorn and also the continuous adipose fin and caudal. Quite a peculiar looking catfish to say the least :-)


The image below shows the well developed barbel arangement of Liobagrus marginatus.



There are three genera, Amblyceps, Liobagrus and Xiurenbagrus but the first two are the species we tend to see although they are still pretty rare in the trade. The differences are Amblyceps: Nostrils close together; cup-like depresion below opercular flap present. Liobagrus: Nostrils far apart; no cup-like depresion below opercular flap.

This family are closely related to the Bagridae family and are reported to be able to live out of the water for a period of time.

The ichthyologist who discovered this species, Albert Günther, was born in Esslingen in Swabia (Germany) in the year 1830 and died at the age of 84 at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. He studied theology in Bonn and Berlin and later studied medicine in Tübingen. He went to the British Museum in 1856, where he worked on ichthyology. Following the death of John Edward Gray in 1875 he was made director of the zoology department of the Natural History Museum in London, remaining so until 1895. Apart from fishes, he also worked on the reptiles and amphibians in the Museum collection.

Dorsal fin short with a week concealed spine. Anal fin short with about 9-18 rays. Pelvic fins have 6-7 rays. Gill openings wide and the gill membranes are free from the isthmus. Nostrils far apart; no cup-like depression below opercular flap. Adipose fin long, low and keel-like, and continuous with rounded or truncate caudal fin. 4 pairs of barbels.

Body brown/olive overlaid with lighter speckling. Fins Golden brown. Barbels lightly coloured.


Would certainly need water movement in the aquarium as they come from fast moving streams in their natural habitat. Hiding places should also be introduced for their well being and to make them feel more secure in their surroundings.

Not reported.

Sexual differences
Not reported.

In their normal habitat they will greedingly feed on aquatic insects and insect larvae. In the aquarium Daphnia, frozen and live. Also frozen foods such as bloodworm and cyclops.

Glossary of Terms
Isthmus: fleshy throat region of a fish which extends forward from the ventral part of the chest and narrows anteriorly, and externally separating the two gill chambers; that narrowed portion of the breast which lies between the gill chambers and separates them.
Opercular: Pertaining to the operculum; gill cover. Often used for the opercle.

Liobagrus: Greek, leio = smooth + Mozarabic bagre, Greek, pagros = a kind of fish.

Burgess, W.E., 1989 An atlas of freshwater and marine catfishes. A preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey (USA). 784 p.
Sands, David., 1985 Catfishes of The World, Volume 5 Bagridae & Others. Dee Bee Books, 116 Hesketh Lane, Tarleton, Nr.Preston, Lancs.
Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia;
Albert C. L. G. Günther
Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 1 Feb. 2007 "Huang Ho." Online Map/Still. http://secure.britannica.com/eb/art-557

Photo Credits

 © Zhou Hang

Factsheet 128

Amblyceps marginatus
Common Name:
Asia: China;:Changjiang River (Yangtze River), Szechwan

Yangtze River & Szechwan Basin = Click for larger Image Click this thumbnail map for locations.
13cm. SL (5ins)
18-22°C (63-71°F)    
6.5 -7.5.
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                                                                                                        Factsheet 128 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top