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Airbreathing Catfish, Clarias gariepinus

Air breathing catfish or clariids are all fresh water fish found mainly in Africa, but also can be found in Syria, southern Turkey, and Southeast Asia. There are 14 different groups and 100 different species of clariids.

Clariids have an elongated body with a long dorsal fin (top fin) and a long anal fin (bottom fin). Around the mouth there are 4 barbels (whiskers) and the clariids are the only species to have a labyrinth organ (a tree-like organ on the 2nd and 4th gill. This organ allows them to breathe air and travel short distances on land.

It has a very long dorsal fin and as in other species of catfish does not have a spine after the dorsal. Some of the clariids have very small eyes, and others are actually blind. The adult can grow to 51 inches in length.

The early post larval stage of the clariids diet is specifically plankton, while in the late post larval stage it will begin to ingest larger organisms. The diet of juvenile clariids is primarily insects, and the adult will feed on a wide variety of food.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Siluriformes

Family: Clariidae

Image Caption: Drawing of an Airbreathing Catfish by Robbie N. Cada (Fishbase). Credit: Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)

Airbreathing Catfish Clarias gariepinus


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