Family Ictaluridae Ameiuridae 143North American catfishes Freshwater North America southern Canada to Guatemala

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Four pairs of barbels on head; skin naked; dorsal (except in Prietella) and pectoral fins with a spine; dorsal fin usually with six soft rays; palate toothless except in fossil Astephus. Four species of blind (eyeless) catfishes are known; two (Satan and Trogloglanis) from deep artesian wells and associated ditches near San Antonio, Texas, and two (Prietella) from northeastern Mexico. Monophyly and phylogenetic relations of the genera were shown by Lundberg (1992) and relationships among species of Ameiurus discussed in (Hardman and Page, 2003). Maximum length about 1.6 m, attained in Ictalurus furcatus and Pylodictis olivaris.

Seven genera, Ameiurus (7, bullheads), Ictalurus (9, five of which occur only in Mexico and Guatemala, channel catfishes), Noturus (25, including one recently extinct, stonecat and madtoms which have a poison gland at base of pectoral spine); Prietella (2), Pylodictis (1, Flathead Catfish), Satan (1), and Trogloglanis (1), with a total of about 46 species (including one recently extinct) (Nelson et al., 2004). Gilbert (1998) gives a type catalogue of recent and fossil taxa.

Superfamily Doradoidea. Ariidae was placed in Doradoidea in de Pinna (1998), but it is moved to the Bagroidea as sister to Claroteidae based on M. de Pinna (pers. comm., 2005). Diogo et al. (2004b) provided further support for the hypothesis that the Doradidae and the Auchenipteridae are closely related.

Three families, 61 genera, and 345 species. Family MOCHOKIDAE (144)—squeakers or upside-down catfishes. Freshwater; Africa.

Adipose fin usually very large; anal fin with fewer than 10 rays; dorsal and pectoral fin spines usually strong and with a locking mechanism; three pairs of barbels, nasal barbels absent and mandibular barbels may have numerous branches; some with lips and part of barbels modified into an oral sucker (Atopochilus, Chiloglanis, and Euchilichthys); the two species of Mochokus of the Nile system have a rayed adipose fin. Maximum length 72 cm. Monophyly was addressed by Mo (1991).

Eleven genera, e.g., Ancharius, Atopochilus, Chiloglanis, Euchilichthys, Microsynodontis, Mochokus (synonym Acanthocleithron), and Synodontis, with 179 species (e.g., Teugels, 2003).

Family DORADIDAE (145)—thorny catfishes. Freshwater; South America (primarily in Brazil, Peru, and the Guianas).

Wallago CatfishInternal Mandibular Barbles

Body with a row of lateral bony plates, most with spines. Liosomadoras morrowi lacks lateral bony plates and Doraops zuloagai has them only on the posterior portion of the body. Three pairs of barbels (no nasals), mandibular barbels with branches in some; dorsal fin with spine and 4-6 soft rays; adipose fin usually present. Doradids are also called "talking catfishes" because of their sound production, made either by movements of the pectoral spine or by vibrating the swim bladder. Maximum length about 120 cm FL.

About 30 genera, e.g., Acanthodoras, Agamyxis, Amblydoras, Anadoras, Doraops, Doras, Hassar, Hemidoras, Leptodoras, Liosomadoras, Megalodoras, Nemadoras, Opsodoras, Oxydoras, Physopyxis, Platydoras, Pseudodoras, Pterodoras, Scorpiodoras, and Tachydoras, with about 72 species (Sabaj and Ferraris, 2003).

Family AUCHENIPTERIDAE (146)—driftwood catfishes. Freshwater (one species in brackish water); Panama and tropical South America (to Argentina).


Body naked (dorsal region of body between head and dorsal fin with sutured bony plates beneath the skin); usually three pairs of barbels (nasal barbels absent), maxillary pair longest; strong spine in pectoral and dorsal fins; adipose fin present but small, rarely absent. Internal insemination probably in all species.

This family now includes the previously recognized family Ageneiosidae (the bottlenose or barbelless catfishes with Ageneiosus and Tetranematichthys) (Ferraris, 2003b). Two subfamilies with 20 genera and about 94 species (Ferraris, 2003b).

Subfamily Centromochlinae. Soares-Porto (1998) gave details on the synapomorphies in showing monophyly and relationships of this group. Four genera, Centromochlus (10), Gelanoglanis (2), Glanidium (6), and Tatia (13), with 31 species (Ferraris, 2003b).

Subfamily Auchenipterinae. About 16 genera, e.g., Ageneiosus (upper figure), Auchenipterus (lower figure), Epapterus, Tetranematichthys, Trachelyichthys, Trachelyopterus, and Trachycorystes, with 63 species (Ferraris, 2003b).

Superfamily Siluroidea. Seven families, 45 genera, and 275 species.

Family SILURIDAE (147)—sheatfishes. Freshwater; Europe and Asia.

Dorsal fin usually with fewer than seven rays, sometimes absent, not preceded by a spine; adipose fin absent; pelvic fins small, sometimes absent; anal fin base very elongate, 41-110 rays; nasal barbel absent, one or two pairs of barbels on lower jaw, and maxillary barbels usually elongate. Monophyly of this family has been established by Bornbusch (1995) on the basis of such characters as the autopalatine reduced to a small nodule.

The largest species of siluriform is the commercially important European wels, Silurus glanis, which commonly reaches 3 m (maximum recorded length is 5 m and weight 330 kg). This species is native in Europe, east of the Rhine, and in some areas occurs in brackish water and in inland saline seas.

At least 11 genera, Belodontichthys, Ceratoglanis, Hemisilurus, Hito, Kryptopterus (glass catfish), Micronema, Ompok, Pterocryptis, Silurichthys, Silurus (Parasilurus may be a synonym), and Wallago, with about 97 species (Bornbusch, 1995; Rainboth, 1996; Teugels, 2003). Only two species, both in the large genus Silurus, occur in Europe.

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