Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total):
85 - 105; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 70 - 81.
Dorsal and anal fins continuous with caudal fin. Four
pairs of mouth barbels. A single highly venomous serrate
spine at the beginning of the first dorsal and each
of the pectoral fins. The only catfish found in coral
reefs. Also found in estuaries, tide pools and open
coasts. Juveniles form dense ball-shaped schools of
about 100 fish; adults are solitary or occur in smaller
groups of around 20 and are known to hide under ledges
during the day. Adults search and stir the sand incessantly
for crustaceans, mollusks, worms, and sometimes fish.
Oviparous, with demersal eggs and planktonic larvae.
The highly venomous serrate spine of the first dorsal
and each of the pectoral fins are dangerous, and even
fatal in rare cases. Colouration:
When very young they are mostly black and when they
start to mature the white to yellow ventral stripes
begin to appear gradually to make this catfish a real
beauty to the enthusiast. It is only when they get
to the adult stage that they lose this trait and revert
to a murky brown colour. Aquarium Care:
A tank set-up for them wouldcomprise
of a sand/gravelor coral/rock
rubble, which can be aggregated in flanks or balls
on sandy bottoms. A good water current is preferred
with hiding places in the aquarium.A
good quality salt mix (pre-mixed for a day before
use)of a constant high
or low range salinity is fine. The pH values would
need to be monitored with the heavy feeding that is
common with these cats. Diet: No
problem in this department as they will greedily feed
on pellets, marine flake, frozen and fresh food. Two
daily feedings of at least one of defrosted frozen
food will suffice.
Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, in marine waters,
but sometimes entering freshwaters in East Africa
and Madagascar, eastern Mediterranean. Type
locality: (East Indian Seas).
Ferraris, C.J. Jr.,
2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes:
Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary
types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628. Froese, R. and D. Pauly.
Editors. 2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic
publication. www.fishbase.org, version (02/2010).
131. May 2007.