Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes
(Catfish) > Ariidae
(Sea catfishes) > Ariinae
Etymology: Arius: Greek, arios, areios = dealing with Mars, warlike, bellicose (Ref. 45335). More on author: Boulenger.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic. Tropical
Africa: Ouémé and Volta rivers, and greater part of the Niger River basin, including the Benue River downstream Gauthiot Falls (Ref. 57224)
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 165 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 6541); max. published weight: 50.0 kg (Ref. 3799)
soft rays: 11 - 13. Diagnosis: body elongated and rounded; head broad and only slightly flattened above, snout rounded (slightly pointed in small specimens); mouth inferior; maxillary barbels just reaching to pectoral fin bases, mandibular ones being shorter; osseous head shield, fairly visible through the skin, coarsely rugose with a very slight median keel; occipital process moderately broad at base and truncated posteriorly (Ref. 57224). Base of supra-occipital process moderately wide (Ref. 2683). Predorsal plate rugose, crescent-shaped; premaxillary teeth villiform forming 2 plates meeting at midline; palatine teeth in 2 large subtriangular patches which are only slightly separated at midline; no gill-rakers on posterior face of the 1st and 2nd arches; total number of anterior gill-rakers on first arch 18 to 21, on second arch 18 to 20; dorsal and pectoral fins with a strong osseous, erectile spine with anterior rim granulose and posterior rim serrated; long dorsal fin spine preceded by a very short one; adipose fin well developed; caudal fin forked, upper lobe slightly elongated (Ref. 57224).
Coloration: bluish grey on the upper part, lightening progressively towards belly which is white; distal rim of fins blackish (Ref. 57224).
Found in large rivers and their estuaries (Ref. 2683). Probably exceeds 165 cm (Ref. 3876). Males practise
buccal incubation (ref. 57224).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Schneider, W., 1990. FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Field guide to the commercial marine resources of the Gulf of Guinea. Prepared and published with the support of the FAO Regional Office for Africa. Rome: FAO. 268 p. (Ref. 2683)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Traumatogenic (Ref. 58010)
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00490 (0.00264 - 0.00909), b=3.10 (2.94 - 3.26), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.4 se; Based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (82 of 100) .