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Shark Catfishes

Shark catfishes are members of the Pangasiidae family. They are distributed in Southern Asia, mainly in India, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. They have elongate and compressed body. Their eyes have a free orbital margin, situated behind corner of mouth, generally partly below its level. Their adipose fin is small, above the posterior of anal. Their anal fin are elongated and ventral fin situated behind dorsal. Their pectoral and dorsal fins have pungent spines.

They are primarily freshwater fish with some species that can tolerate brackish water and only one species occurs in true marine waters. They are highly migratory riverine fishes that makes long-distance migrations over several hundred kilometers between spawning and nursery habitats. Most species are omnivorous, feeding on algae, higher plants, zooplankton, and insects. Larger specimens also take fruit, crustaceans and fish.

There are 4 genera with about 30 species worldwide. Malaysia has 2 genera with 12 species.

Scientific Name: Pangasianodon hypophthalmus  (Sauvage, 1878)
English Name: Striped Catfish, Sutchi Catfish
Chinese Name | 鱼类中文名: 苏氏口鲶 (Sū shì kǒu nián), 巴丁(Bā dīng)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Patin, Patin Lawang
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาสวาย (Plā s̄wāy)
Main Identification Features: Body long, latterly flattened with no scales. Head short, less than 24% standard length. Mouth broad with small sharp teeth on jaw. Two pairs of maxillary barbels (at the corner of the mouth). Six branched dorsal-fin rays. Caudal fin forked. Dark stripe on the middle of anal fin and in each caudal lobe. Young fish have 2 black longitudal stripes while large adults uniformly grey.
Size: Maximum standard length 130 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Native to Mekong, Chao Phraya and Mae Klong basins. Widespread in Malaysian rivers probably due to aquaculture escapees. Occurs in low oxygenated and turbid large river. Moves seasonally to floodplains to spawn in the wet season. Omnivorous, feeding primarily on algae, plants, zooplankton, insects, fruits, crustaceans, and fishes.
Remarks: Endangered (2011 IUCN Red List).