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Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822)

Image contributors to this species:

Hippocampus Bildarchiv (2) Frants Lehmann (2 Stamps) Philip Marazzi (4) Karl-Heinz Dau (5 Stamps) Jean-Francois Helias (3) Reinhold Wawrzynski (2) Gareth Roocroft (4)

ScotCat Sources:

Etymology = Genus

Other Sources:

FishbaseGoogle Search All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

Possess accessory breathing organs which allow survival for long periods out of water. Can 'walk' on land using its pectoral spines as support. No dorsal spine. Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 61 - 80; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 45 - 65; Vertebrae: 56 - 63. Body depth is 6-8 times in standard length, the head 3-3,5 times. The head is somewhat between rectangular and pointed in dorsal outline; the snout is broadly rounded. The eyes have a supero-lateral position and are relatively small. Teeth on the premaxilla and lower jaw are small, fine and arranged in several rows. Nasal barbels from 1/5 to 1/2 times as long as the head in fishes longer than 12 cm, and from 1/2 to 4/5 of the head length in smaller individuals; maxillary barbels rarely shorter than the head, usually somewhat longer and reaching to a point midway between the origin of the dorsal fin and the insertion of the pelvic fins; outer mandibular barbel longer than the inner pair. Occurs mainly in quiet waters, lakes and pools but may also occur in fast flowing rivers and in rapids. Widely tolerant of extreme environmental conditions. As with all Clarias species it will need to be housed in a large tank with same size or larger tankmates as they are extremely predatory. The 4 images by image contributor, Philip Marazzi depict a dried up pool in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, East Africa where there are easy pickings for the Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus.

Common Name:

Sharptooth Catfish


Silurus gariepinus




Africa: Nearly Pan African, as well as Asia Minor (Teugels, 1986b); introduced into Laos (Kottelat, 2001b). Asia, Jordan, Israel,  Lebanon, Syria and southern Turkey. Widely introduced to other parts of Africa, Europe and Asia. Several  countries report adverse ecological impact after  introduction. Trade restricted in  Germany. Type locality: Vaal River at Smidtsdrift, above confluence with Riet River, Cape Province, South Africa


80cm. (31ins)


20-26C (68-79F)




Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (10/2009).
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.



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