Clarias macrocephalus Günther, 1864
Bighead catfish
Clarias macrocephalus
photo by CAFS

Family:  Clariidae (Airbreathing catfishes)
Max. size:  120 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 45 kg
Environment:  benthopelagic; freshwater; brackish; depth range - 1 m, potamodromous
Distribution:  Asia: Thailand to Viet Nam. Introduced to China, Malaysia, Guam and the Philippines.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0. 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).
Biology:  Lives in lowland wetlands and rivers (Ref. 57235). Recorded as having been or being farmed in rice fields (Ref. 119549). 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, it was thought wrongly as female of Clarias batrachus (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).
IUCN Red List Status: Data deficient (DD); Date assessed: 17 January 2019 Ref. (130435)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

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