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Airbreathing Catfishes

Airbreathing catfishes or walking catfishes belong to the Clariidae family. They are distributed in Africa, Syria, and southern and western Asia (Philippines to Java).Their dorsal fin extends over much of their body length, usually over 30 dorsal fin rays and without a leading spine. Their dorsal fin can be discontinuous or united to caudal fin. Their caudal fin is rounded.

Clariids are all freshwater fish. Most of the species are carnivorous, feeding on small fishes, crustaceans and insects.

There are 15 genera and about 115 species worldwide. Malaysia has about 11 species.

Scientific Name: Clarias gariepinus  (Burchell, 1822)
English Name: North African Catfish, African Sharptooth Catfish
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 胡鲶 (Hú nián), 塘虱 (Táng shī)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Keli, Keli Afrika
Bahasa Indonesia: Ikan Lele Dumbo
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาดุกแอฟริกา (Plā duk afrikā)
Local Hokkien: Thor Sat
Local Teochew: Thow Sak
Main Identification Features: Body scaleless and elongate, usually with irregular dark blotches on light grey background, white ventral surface. Head large, depressed and bony with small eyes. Supraoccipital process pointed (V shape at the back of head). Upper surface of the head is coarsely granulated in adult. Long dorsal and anal fins, extending to caudal peduncle. Caudal fin rounded.
Size: Maximum total length 170 cm, commonly to 90 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Native to Africa, Niger and Nile Rivers. Benthopelagic freshwater fish species. Found in rivers and wetlands with soft muddy substrate. Feeds on varieties of food including insects, worms, gastropods, crustaceans, small fishes, small land animal, plants and debris.