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Clarias macrocephalus  Günther, 1864

Bighead catfish
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Clarias macrocephalus
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes (Catfish) > Clariidae (Airbreathing catfishes)
Etymology: Clarias: Greek, chlaros = lively, in reference to the ability of the fish to live for a long time out of water.   More on author: Günther.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 1 - ? m (Ref. 9987).   Tropical; 34°N - 4°N

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 19 - ? cm
Max length : 120 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9987); max. published weight: 45.0 kg (Ref. 9987)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0. Distinguished from Southeast Asian congeners by an extremely short and rounded occipital process and by a very high dorsal fin. The combination of these characters are diagnostic for the species (Ref. 33566). Occipital process wide, broadly curved, with length 3-5 times in its width; distance between dorsal and occipital process 5-7 times in distance from tip of snout to end of occipital process (Ref. 43281).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Asia: Thailand to Viet Nam. Introduced to China, Malaysia, Guam and the Philippines.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Lives in lowland wetlands and rivers (Ref. 57235). Occurs in shallow, open water and is capable of lying buried in mud for lengthy period if ponds and lakes evaporate during dry seasons (Ref. 9987). Can move out of the water using its extended fins (Ref. 9987). Found in medium to large-sized rivers, stagnant water bodies including sluggish flowing canals and flooded fields of the Mekong (Ref. 12975). Spawns in small streams (Ref. 9987). Feeds on aquatic insects, young shrimps and small fishes (Ref. 6459). In Thailand and Laos, this fish is considered to be better and more nourishing than Clarias batrachus; uncommon in Laos but common in Thailand; thought wrongly as female of Clarias batrachus in Thailand (Ref 2686). Important foodfish and in pond cultures (Ref. 57235). Marketed live, fresh and frozen; consumed fried, broiled and baked (Ref. 9987). Cultivated on a small scale but attempts to farm it are increasing (Ref. 9987).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Teugels, G.G., R.C. Diego, L. Pouyaud and M. Legendre, 1999. Redescription of Clarias macrocephalus (Siluriformes: Clariidae) from Southeast Asia. Cybium 23(3):285-295. (Ref. 33566)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial
FAO(Publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00794 (0.00446 - 0.01415), b=3.03 (2.88 - 3.18), based on LWR estimates for species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.2   ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Assuming tm=1; Fec=800-14,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High vulnerability (61 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.