Stranger Fruit

How many catfish are there?


The old story goes that JBS Haldane felt that God had an inordinate fondness for beetles. It also seems he likes catfish. CJ Ferraris has produced a checklist of fossil and living catfishes and estimated that there are 3093 valid species in 478 genera (and 36 families). Of these 72 species are known solely from fossils. No one who knows catfishes will be surprised that the largest family is the Loricariidae (716 species in 96 genera), but interestingly, three genera of living catfishes could not be assigned to existing families: Conorhynchos and Phreatobius from South America, and Horabagrus from Asia.

Speaking of Horabagrus, my H. brachysoma (G√ľnther 1864) which I introduced in February 2006 is now probably a little over eight inches in length.

Ref: Ferraris, CJ Jr. (2007) "Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types." Zootaxa 1418: 1-628. Available online [pdf1, pdf2].

Update: Fixed dumb homonym mistake. Sheech!


  1. #1 coturnix
    June 6, 2007

    So which species is this (scroll down a little)?

  2. #2 John Lynch
    June 6, 2007

    It is a Wels Catfish (Silurus glanis).

  3. #3 coturnix
    June 7, 2007

    Thank you.

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