Plotosus lineatus (Thunberg, 1787)
Striped eel catfish
Plotosus lineatus
photo by Randall, J.E.

Family:  Plotosidae (Eeltail catfishes)
Max. size:  35.2 cm TL (male/unsexed); max. reported age: 7 years
Environment:  reef-associated; brackish; marine; depth range 1 - 60 m, amphidromous
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to Samoa, north to southern Japan, southern Korea, and the Ogasawara Islands, south to Australia and Lord Howe Island. Palau and Yap in Micronesia (Ref. 1602). Sometimes enters freshwaters of East Africa (Lake Malawi) and Madagascar (Ref. 3879). First record in the Mediterranean (Ref. 123740),
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 1-1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 69-115; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 58-82. This species has the dorsal and anal fins continuous with caudal fin; with 4 pairs of mouth barbels; and a single highly venomous serrate spine at the beginning of the first dorsal and each of the pectoral fins (Ref. 1602). Description: Characterized by black to brown color on upper side; white ventrally; pair of narrow white stripes extending from head to caudal fin; well separated dorsal fins; origin of second dorsal fin posterior to level of pelvic fin origin; depth of body 5.8-8.0 in SL; anterior nostril tubular, dorsal to upper lip; gill membranes narrowly attached across isthmus (Ref. 90102).
Biology:  Coastal benthic (Ref. 68964). The only catfish found in coral reefs. Also found in estuaries, tide pools and open coasts. Juveniles form dense ball-shaped schools of about 100 fish; adults are solitary or occur in smaller groups of around 20 and are known to hide under ledges during the day (Ref. 1602, 5503, 12693, 37816, 48635). Adults search and stir the sand incessantly for crustaceans, mollusks, worms, and sometimes fish (Ref. 5213). Oviparous, with demersal eggs and planktonic larvae (Ref. 205). The highly venomous serrate spine of the first dorsal and each of the pectoral fins are dangerous, and even fatal in rare cases (Ref. 1602).
IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated (N.E.) Ref. (126983)
Threat to humans:  venomous

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