Dorsal fin usually present (with short base and a spine, absent in Ailia and Parailia); adipose fin usually present; anal fin base very long, not confluent with caudal, 24-90 rays; usually four pairs of barbels. The pelvic fin is occasionally absent in species of several genera. Members of this family tend to swim in open water.
It is interesting here to note that, as with some other family names, there is disagreement on the correct spelling. Rules concerning determining the correct formation of family names are given in the code of the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), as presented in the fourth edition of the "International Code of Zoological Nomenclature" (the Code), primarily in Articles 29 and 35. Normally the rules are easy to interpret and apply, but occasionally that is not the case, with multiple spellings existing in
the literature until agreement is reached (in the meantime this may cause unfortunate confusion in the literature, especially for non-taxonomists). In this case, the spellings Schilbeidae and Schilbidae occur for the same taxon in the literature. I have been guilty of using both (Schilbeidae in Nelson, 1976, 1994, and Schilbidae in Nelson, 1984). While informed specialists disagree on the correct formation and usage, I prefer Schilbeidae as does Eschmeyer (1998), and that seems to be the prevailing usage (although Ferraris and de Pinna, 1999, recommended the spelling Schilbidae).
The Schilbeidae are probably monophyletic with a close relationship with the Pangasiidae (Diogo et al., 2004d). Horabagrus with two species in Southeast Asia (e.g., Ng, 2003) is of uncertain phylogenetic relations and is provisionally put here (as it was in Teugels, 2003, presumably based on Mo, 1991). Jayaram (2005) recognized it in its own subfamily. It was shown in de Pinna (1998) as sister to the clade comprising Pangasiidae and higher, therefore requiring a separate family should that relationship be confirmed.
About 15 genera, with five in Africa, Irvineia, Parailia, Siluranodon, Pareutropius, and Schilbe, with 34 species, and ten genera in Asia, Ailia, Ailiichthys (probably a synonym of Ailia), Clupisoma, Eutropiichthys, Laides, Platytropius, Proeutropiichthys, and Pseudeutropius, plus provisionally retained here the Asian genus Silonia (2, not listed in this family by Diogo et al., 2004) and the above mentioned Horabagrus, with 22 species in Asia, and with 56 species for the family (Diogo et al., 2004d; Teugels, 2003, for species numbers, except for Horabagrus).
Family PANGASIIDAE (158)—shark catfishes. Freshwater; southern Asia (Pakistan to Borneo).
Usually two pairs of barbels (maxillary and one pair of mandibular or mental barbels present, nasal barbels always absent, only maxillary barbels in adult Pangasianodon gigas); body compressed; adipose fin present, small, never confluent with caudal fin; dorsal fin far forward with one or two spines and 5-7 soft rays; anal fin with 26-46 rays; vertebrae 39-52. Maximum length about 3 m and maximum weight 300 kg, attained in the plant-eating, toothless (in adults) Pangasianodon gigas.
Three genera, Helicophagus (3), Pangasianodon (2), and Pangasius (23), with 28 species (Rainboth, 1996; Teugels, 2003).
Family BAGRIDAE (159)—bagrid catfishes. Freshwater; Africa and Asia (to Japan and Borneo).
Dorsal fin preceded by a spine, usually with 6 or 7 soft rays (rarely 8-20) (except in Olyra, which lacks a spine and has seven or eight soft rays); adipose fin present and highly variable in size between species; pectoral spine serrated; body naked; usually four pairs of well-developed barbels. Some species are kept as aquarium fishes, while others are large and important as food fishes. Maximum length about 1.5 m.
The family is very different from that recognized in Nelson (1994) as a result of studies by Mo (1991), de Pinna (1998), and Ng (2003); e.g., the family Olyridae has been included here. Mo (1991) divided the family as recognized in Nelson (1994) into three families, the Claroteidae (with two subfamilies, Claroteinae and Auchenoglaninae, Africa), Austroglanididae (one genus, Africa), and Bagridae (the African Bagrus and the Asian genera and including Olyra, the only genus of Olyridae). The recognition of two subfamilies by Mo (1991), Bagrinae for 16 genera, and Ritinae for Nanobagrus and Rita,, was supported by Ng (2003).
Two major unresolved questions concern this family: is it monophyletic and what are its relationships to other catfishes? Our confidence in its composition and placement is unsatisfactory. Its composition here and assumed monophyly is recognized following Mo (1991) and Ng (2003). However, de Pinna (1998), as shown in Ng (2003:449), recognized most of the genera, occurring in Asia, as sister to the Heptapteridae and others, of the genera Bagrus (the type genus of the family), Hemibagrus, Sperata, and as sister to these, Mystus, in a separate group and sister to the New World family Pimelodidae. See also above under superfamily Heptapteroidea.
About 18 genera, e.g., Bagrichthys, Bagroides, Bagrus, Batasio, Hemileiocassis, Hyalobagrus, Hemibagrus, Leiocassis, Mystus, Nanobagrus, Neotropius, Olyra (shown in the lower figure), Pelteobagrus, Pseudobagrus, Pseudomystus, Rama, Rita, and Sperata, with about 170 species (Teugels, 2003:323; Ng, 2003).
Family PIMELODIDAE (160)—long-whiskered catfishes. Freshwater; Panama and South America (north to southernmost Mexico).
Body naked; adipose fin present; three pairs of barbels (no nasal barbels); pectoral and dorsal fin spines present or absent; adipose fin well developed. Maximum length about 2.8 m FL, attained in Brachyplatystoma filamentosum.
This family now includes the previously recognized family Hypophthalmidae (lookdown catfishes or loweye catfishes with four species of Hypophthalmus, thought to be most closely related to Parapimelodus, part of the Pimelodus group) (de Pinna, 1998; Lundberg and Littmann, 2003). Also, in Nelson (1994), three subfamilies were recognized, Rhamdiinae, Pimelodinae, and Pseudopimelodinae, with members of the first and last now placed elsewhere. See above under superfamily Pseudopimelodoidea for further notes.
About 31 genera, e.g., Brachyplatystoma, Calophysus, Goslinia, Hypophthalmus (shown in upper figure), Luciopimelodus, Parapimelodus, Phractocephalus, Pimelodina, Pimelodus (middle figure), Sorubim (lower figure), Sorubimichthys, and Zungaro (synonym Paulicea), and at least 85 species (de Pinna, 1998; Lundberg and Littmann, 2003). The listed works discuss various lineages of this family.
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