Temporal range: Lower Pliocene - recent
Walking catfish, Clarias batrachus
Scientific classification
Scopoli, 1777
Type species
Silurus anguillaris
Linnaeus, 1758

Many, see text.

  • Chlarias Scopoli, 1777
  • Macropteronotus La Cepède, 1803
  • Clarias Cuvier, 1816
  • Cossyphus M’Clelland, 1844
  • Phagorus M’Clelland, 1844
  • Dinotopteroides Fowler, 1930
  • Prophagorus Smith, 1939
  • Anguilloclarias Teugels, 1982
  • Brevicephaloides Teugels, 1982
  • Clarioides Teugels, 1982
  • Platycephaloides Teugels, 1982

Clarias is a genus of catfishes (order Siluriformes) of the family Clariidae, the airbreathing catfishes. The name is derived from the Greek chlaros, which means lively, in reference to the ability of the fish to live for a long time out of water.[1]


Clarias has been found to be paraphyletic. A species of Heterobranchus (H. longifilis) clusters deeply inside the Clarias group.[2]


They are found in inland waters throughout much of the Old World, and are one of the most widespread catfish genera in the world.[3][4] The genus is found in Southeast Asia and East Asia westwards through India and the Asia Minor to Africa.[5] The diversity of these catfishes is highest in Africa.[6] Some (notably the walking catfish) have become pest species where they have been accidentally introduced.


Clarias species are recognized by their long-based dorsal and anal fins, which give them a rather eel-like appearance. These fish have slender bodies, a flat, bony head, and a broad, terminal mouth with four pairs of barbels. They also have a large, accessory breathing organ composed of modified gill arches.[3][5] Also, only the pectoral fins have spines.[7]

Relationship to humans

Many of the species are of great economic importance in both fisheries and fish culture.[6]


There are currently 61 species recognized in this genus:

African species

  • Clarias laeviceps T. N. Gill, 1862
    • Clarias laeviceps dialonensis Daget, 1962
    • Clarias laeviceps laeviceps T. N. Gill, 1862
  • Clarias lamottei Daget & Planquette, 1967
  • Clarias liocephalus Boulenger, 1898 (smoothhead catfish)
  • Clarias longior Boulenger, 1907
  • Clarias maclareni Trewavas, 1962
  • Clarias macromystax Günther, 1864
  • Clarias ngamensis Castelnau, 1861 (blunt-toothed African catfish)
  • Clarias nigromarmoratus Poll, 1967
  • Clarias pachynema Boulenger, 1903
  • Clarias platycephalus Boulenger, 1902
  • Clarias salae Hubrecht, 1881
  • Clarias stappersii Boulenger, 1915 (blotched catfish)
  • Clarias submarginatus W. K. H. Peters, 1882
  • Clarias teijsmanni Bleeker, 1857
  • Clarias theodorae M. C. W. Weber, 1897 (snake catfish)
  • Clarias werneri Boulenger, 1906 (Werner's catfish)

Asian species

  • Clarias abbreviatus Valenciennes, 1840
  • Clarias anfractus H. H. Ng, 1999
  • Clarias batrachus Linnaeus, 1758 (Walking catfish)
  • Clarias batu K. K. P. Lim & H. H. Ng, 1999 [5]
  • Clarias brachysoma Günther, 1864
  • Clarias cataractus Fowler, 1939
  • Clarias dayi Hora, 1936
  • Clarias fuscus Lacépède, 1803 (Hong Kong catfish)
  • Clarias gracilentus H. H. Ng, K. H. Dang & V. T. Nguyen, 2011 [8]
  • Clarias insolitus H. H. Ng, 2003 [3]
  • Clarias intermedius Teugels, Sudarto & Pouyaud, 2001 [6]
  • Clarias kapuasensis Sudarto, Teugels & Pouyaud, 2003
  • Clarias leiacanthus Bleeker, 1851
  • Clarias macrocephalus Günther, 1864 (bighead catfish)
  • Clarias magur F. Hamilton, 1822
  • Clarias meladerma Bleeker, 1846 (blackskin catfish)
  • Clarias microspilus H. H. Ng & Hadiaty, 2011 [9]
  • Clarias microstomus H. H. Ng, 2001 [4]
  • Clarias nebulosus Deraniyagala, 1958
  • Clarias nieuhofii Valenciennes, 1840 (slender walking catfish)
  • Clarias nigricans H. H. Ng, 2003 [10]
  • Clarias olivaceus Fowler, 1904
  • Clarias planiceps H. H. Ng, 1999
  • Clarias pseudoleiacanthus Sudarto, Teugels & Pouyaud], 2003
  • Clarias pseduonieuhofii Sudarto, Teugels & Pouyaud, 2004 [7]
  • Clarias serniosus H. H. Ng & Kottelat, 2014 [11]
  • Clarias sulcatus H. H. Ng, 2004

Fossil species

  • Clarias falconeri  Lydekker, 1886, from India

Invasive species

Clarias catfish and primarily Clarias batrachus (walking catfish) have been introduced to many different areas of the world, where they are causing problems for the native wildlife. The effect of introduction of these fish varies from area to area, but as they are predatory, they often affect the local wildlife by eating other fish, birds, and amphibians. In Florida, the fish are causing problems by invading aquaculture farms and preying on the fish cultivated there.[12] Countries where one or several Clarias species have been introduced include Indonesia, the United States, Hong Kong, China, UK, Papua New Guinea, Guam, Taiwan, Thailand, and Cuba.


  1. Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2011). Species of Clarias in FishBase. December 2011 version.
  2. Mwita, CJ; Nkwengulila, G. (2008). "Molecular phylogeny of the clariid fishes of Lake Victoria, Tanzania, inferred from cytochrome b DNA sequences". Journal of Fish Biology. 73 (5): 1139–1148. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2008.01935.x.
  3. 1 2 3 Ng, Heok Hee (2003). "Clarias insolitus, a new species of clariid catfish (Teleostei: Siluriformes) from southern Borneo" (PDF). Zootaxa. 284: 1–8. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  4. 1 2 Ng, Heok Hee (2001). "Clarias microstomus, a New Species of Clariid Catfish from Eastern Borneo (Teleostei: Siluriformes)" (PDF). Zoological Studies. 40 (2): 158–162. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  5. 1 2 3 Lim, Kelvin K. P.; Ng, H. H. (1999). "Clarias batu, a New Species of Catfish (Teleostei: Clariidae) from Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia" (PDF). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology (6): 157–167. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  6. 1 2 3 Teugels, Guy G.; Sudarto; Pouyaud, Laurent (2001). "Description of a New Clarias Species from Southeast Asia Based on Morphological and Genetical Evidence (Siluriformes, Clariidae)" (PDF). 25 (1): 81–92. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-26. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  7. 1 2 Sudarto; Teugels, Guy G.; Pouyaud, Laurent (2004). "Description of a New Clariid Catfish, Clarias pseudonieuhofii from West Borneo (Siluriformes: Clariidae)" (PDF). Zoological Studies. 43 (1): 8–19. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  8. Ng, H. H.; Dang, K. H. & Nguyen, V. T. (2011). "Clarias gracilentus, a new walking catfish (Teleostei: Clariidae) from Vietnam and Cambodia" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2823: 61–68
  9. Ng HH & Hadiaty Rk (2011) Clarias microspilus, a new walking catfish (Teleostei: Clariidae) from northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(3): 1577-1584.
  10. Ng, Heok Hee (2003). "Clarias nigricans, a New Species of Clariid Catfish (Teleostei: Siluriformes) from Eastern Borneo" (PDF). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 51 (2): 393–398. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  11. Ng, H.H. & Kottelat, M. (2014): Clarias serniosus, a new walking catfish (Teleostei: Clariidae) from Laos. Zootaxa, 3884 (5): 437–444.
  12. issg Database: ecology of Clarias batrachus
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