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Clarias liocephalus  Boulenger, 1898

Smoothhead catfish
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Native range | All suitable habitat
This map was computer-generated and has not yet been reviewed.
Clarias liocephalus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Clarias liocephalus (Smoothhead catfish)
Clarias liocephalus
Picture by Seegers, L.

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: Boulenger.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; demersal.   Tropical; 22°C - 28°C (Ref. 12468), preferred ?; 2°N - 12°S

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

Africa: Lake Victoria, Edward, George, small lakes of Uganda, Lake Kivu, smaller lakes of Rwanda, Lake Tanganyika, in Malawi, Kagera, Malagarazi and Ruzizi Rivers (Ref. 248). Also in Lake Rukwa (Ref. 27292) and in Luapula and Lualaba River drainages (Congo River basin) (Ref. 248). Present in Cunene, Okavango, upper Zambezi, and Kafue systems (Ref. 7248).

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 32.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3820)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 67-79; Anal soft rays: 53 - 67; Vertebrae: 55 - 58. Pectoral fin spine with serrations on the inner and upward directed on the outer side (Ref. 34290). Head oval to rectangular dorsally; snout broadly rounded; eyes more laterally located. Frontal fontanelle intermediate between `knife-shaped' and `sole-shaped'; occipital fontanelle long and oval-shaped. Supraorbital and `dermosphenotic' bones generally joined above 150 mm SL and more dorsally placed. Tooth plates relatively broad. Pectoral spine relatively short; its outer side strongly serrated over entire length. Gill rakers short and far apart. Openings of secondary sensory canals regularly arranged on flanks.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Occurs in marginal water-lily and papyrus swamps as well as in marginal weed beds; abundant in high mountain streams and torrents and on the bottom among stones; not found in any situation lower than about 915 m above sea level nor in water of a higher temperature than 18 °C (Ref. 248). In the Rukwa and Malawi drainage they are sometimes found in very cold upland streams (Ref. 78218). These fishes are omnivores, feeding on insect larvae and sometimes also fishes (Ref. 78218).

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

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. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial
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Common names
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Internet sources

BHL | Cloffa | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishes of Iran | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GloBI | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Scirus | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoobank | Zoological Record

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=0.00724 (0.00336 - 0.01560), b=2.99 (2.82 - 3.16), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.3   ±0.45 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (26 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.