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Clarias ngamensis  Castelnau, 1861

Blunt-toothed African catfish
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Clarias ngamensis   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Clarias ngamensis (Blunt-toothed African catfish)
Clarias ngamensis
Picture by Mertens, P.

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: Castelnau.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; brackish; demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243).   Tropical; 11°S - 27°S

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

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)

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 73.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7248); max. published weight: 4.0 kg (Ref. 7248)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 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     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

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).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Breeding is reportedly flood dependent and similar to that of C. gariepinus.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Teugels, G.G., 1986. A systematic revision of the African species of the genus Clarias (Pisces; Clariidae). Ann. Mus. R. Afr. Centr., Sci. Zool., 247:199 p. (Ref. 248)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 108899)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

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

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