Temporal range: Paleogene - Recent
Pangasius sanitwongsei
Scientific classification
Valenciennes, 1840
Type species
Pangasius buchanani
Valenciennes, 1840

See text.

  • Pseudopangasius Bleeker, 1862
  • Neopangasius Popta, 1904
  • Sinopangasius Chang & Wu, 1965

Pangasius is a genus of medium-large to very large shark catfishes native to fresh water in South and Southeast Asia. The term "pangasius" is sometimes used to specifically refer to the commercially important basa fish, P. bocourti.[1]


In 1993, Pangasius was one of two extant genera (along with Helicophagus) in the family Pangasiidae. At this point, it was split into four subgenera. Pangasius (Pangasianodon) included P. gigas and P. hypophthalmus and was diagnosed by the absence of mandibular barbels, the absence of teeth in adults and the presence of a single-lobed swimbladder. Pangasius (Pteropangasius) included P. micronema and P. pleurotaenia and was diagnosed by four lobes in the swimbladder and with multiple segments in the last lobe. Pangasius (Neopangasius) included P. nieuwenhuisii, P. humeralis, P. lithostoma, P. kinabatanganensis, diagnosed by palatal teeth arranged in a single large patch and high vertebral counts. Pangasius (Pangasius) was the final subgenus and had no diagnostic features, containing the remaining species.[2] These subgeneric classifications were confirmed in 2000 except for Neopangasius, found to be polyphyletic and to be part of Pangasius (Pangasius), thus leaving three subgenera.[2]

Since then, the subgenera have been variably recognized as separate. P. gigas and P. hypophthalmus have been classified in the genus Pangasianodon, and P. micronemus and P. pleurotaenia in the genus Pseudolais (with Pteropangasius as a junior synonym).[3]

In 2011, Pangasius was sixth in the National Fisheries Institute’s "Top 10" list of the most consumed seafood in the United States.[4] The Top 10 is based on tonnage of fish sold. According to the NFI, this mild-flavored white-fleshed fish is farmed in Asia, and is being used increasingly in food service. It is finding its way onto restaurant menus and into stores, as well, where one may see it called basa, tra, or swai.


Currently, 22 recognized species are in this genus:[5]

  • Pangasius bocourti Sauvage, 1880 (basa fish)
  • Pangasius conchophilus Roberts & Vidthayanon, 1991
  • Pangasius djambal Bleeker, 1846
  • Pangasius elongatus Pouyaud, Gustiano & Teugels, 2002
  • Pangasius humeralis Roberts, 1989
  • Pangasius kinabatanganensis Roberts & Vidthayanon, 1991
  • Pangasius krempfi Fang & Chaux, 1949
  • Pangasius kunyit Pouyaud, Teugels & Legendre, 1999
  • Pangasius larnaudii Bocourt, 1866 (spot pangasius)
  • Pangasius lithostoma Roberts, 1989
  • Pangasius macronema Bleeker, 1851
  • Pangasius mahakamensis Pouyaud, Gustiano & Teugels, 2002
  • Pangasius mekongensis Gustiano, Teugels & Pouyaud, 2003
  • Pangasius myanmar Roberts & Vidthayanon, 1991
  • Pangasius nasutus (Bleeker, 1863)
  • Pangasius nieuwenhuisii (Popta, 1904)
  • Pangasius pangasius (Hamilton, 1822) (yellowtail catfish)
  • Pangasius polyuranodon Bleeker, 1852
  • Pangasius rheophilus Pouyaud & Teugels, 2000
  • Pangasius sabahensis Gustiano, Teugels & Pouyaud, 2003
  • Pangasius sanitwongsei Smith, 1931 (giant pangasius)
  • Pangasius silasi Dwivedi et al., 2017

Fossil record

The single fossil species of this genus, P. indicus, is reported from the Paleogene period of Sipang, Sumatra, either from the Eocene or the Oligocene.[3]


  1. "Fish Labelling (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2006" (PDF). COT. 26 May 2007. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  2. 1 2 Gustiano, R.; Teugels, G. G.; Pouyaud, L. (2003). "Revision of the Pangasius kunyit catfish complex, with description of two new species from South-East Asia (Siluriformes; Pangasiidae)". Journal of Natural History. 37 (3): 357–376. doi:10.1080/713834687.
  3. 1 2 Ferraris, Carl J. Jr. (2007). "Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1418: 1–628.
  4. "NFI Top Ten List, a Familiar School of Fish". National Fisheries Institute.
  5. Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). Species of Pangasius in FishBase. February 2012 version.
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