Clarias ngamensis Castelnau, 1861
Blunt-toothed African catfish
Clarias ngamensis
photo by Mertens, P.

Family:  Clariidae (Airbreathing catfishes)
Max. size:  73 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 4,000.0 g
Environment:  demersal; freshwater; brackish, potamodromous
Distribution:  Africa: Quanza, Cunene, Okavango, Chobe, Lake Ngami, upper Zambezi (above Victoria Falls), Kafue, Lake Malawi, upper Lualaba, Luapula, Lakes Moero and Bangweulu, Pungwe, Buzi, Save, Limpopo, Incomati, lower Pongolo and lower Sabi/Lundi system (Ref. 248). Also reported from the lower Shire (Ref. 7248)
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 56-62; Anal soft rays: 50-58; Vertebrae: 56-60. Characterized by a relatively long vomerine tooth plate (5.9-14.4 % HL) and by a relatively short adipose fin (5.9-12.5 % SL), the length of which is a specific character of C. ngamensis. Head oval to rectangular in dorsal outline; frontal fontanelle long and narrow (`knife-shaped'); occipital fontanelle small and oval-shaped. Pectoral spine robust and slightly curved. The suprabranchial organ consists of well developed arborescent structures.
Biology:  The species seems to be nowhere especially abundant but is fairly common in some areas such as weed beds, permanent swamps, quieter waters and muddy bottoms (Ref. 248, 5595). Prefers vegetated habitats. Feeding habits overlap considerably with the sharptooth catfish. Important foods are mollusks, terrestrial and aquatic insects, insect larvae, shrimps, grain, crabs and fish (Ref. 4967, 78218). Feeds on snails (Ref. 5595). Hard-shelled foods such as mussels are crushed before they are swallowed. Breeds during the summer rainy season. May live for 5-6 years (Ref. 7248). Also caught with drawnets (Ref. 4967).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 20 June 2018 Ref. (123251)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Binohlan, Crispina B. - 13.02.91
Modified by: Geelhand, Dimitri - 20.03.13
Checked by: Sa-a, Pascualita - 16.08.94

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