Category: Fishes | Resource

Walking catfish, Clarias batrachus (Linneaeus, 1758)

Walking catfish: Clarias batrachus

Walking catfish: Clarias batrachus

Systematic position
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfishes)
Superfamily: Siluroidea
Family: Clariidae (Airbreathing catfishes)
Genus: Clarias
Species: C. batrachus

Clarias assamensis Day, 1877
Clarias punctatus Valenciennes, 1840
Silurus batrachus Linneaeus, 1758

Common/local names
English: Magur, Walking catfish and Philippine catfish
Bangladesh: Magur (মাগুর) and Jiol (জিওল)
India: Magur and Mahgur (Assam and West Bengal); Wagur, Manguri and Mangur (Bihar and Uttar Pradesh); Magur and Kugga (Punjab); Magurah and Maguro (Orissa); Marpoo and Marpulu (Andhra Pradesh); Massarai and Karuppuktheli (Tamil Nadu); Muzhi, Mazhu, Yeri-vahlay and Musi (Kerala); and Halimeena (Karnataka)  (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Distributions: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Borneo and Philippines (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

Conservation status: Not threatened in Bangladesh (IUCN Bangladesh, 2000).

Morphology:  Body elongate. Head moderately depressed and covered by osseous plates. Eyes small, mouth terminal and barbels 4 pairs of which maxillary barbels extend to middle or end of pectoral fins and mandibular pairs are shorter. Dorsal fin inserted slightly anterior tip of pectoral fins. Pectoral spine strong and fairly serrated on both edges.

Body color brownish to green-blue. The back dark with a greenish lustre. Pale brown or reddish on flanks and belly often numerous striking pale to white spots on flanks. Dorsal anal fins have red margins.

Fin formula:
D. 69; P. I/9; V. 6; A. 52; C. 16 (Bhuiyan, 1964)
D. 64-70; P1. 1/9-10; P2. 6. A. 45-52 (Rahman, 1989 and 2005)
D 70-76; A 45-58; P I 8-11; V i 5 (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991)
D. 62-76; P. 1-9; V. 6; A. 45-50; . 16 (Shafi and Quddus, 2001)

Maximum lengths: 23 cm (Bhuiyan, 1964), 30.2 cm (Rahman, 1989 and 2005), 46 cm (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991; Huda et al., 2003) and 40 cm (Shammi and Bhatnagar, 2002).

Habitats: Fresh and brackish waters of plains (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Found in all types of freshwater bodies of Bangladesh., also in brackish waters. Recorded from the Sundarbans (Huda et al., 2003), Chalan beel (Galib et al., 2009 and 2010); Padma river in Rajshahi (Samad et al., 2010).

Food and feeding: Omnivorous; fingerlings take insects, crustaceans and debris and adults take smaller and larger crustaceans, worms, insects, small fish, decaying organic matter etc. (Yadav, 1999). Feeds on algae and higher plants at the bottom water (Shammi and Bhatnagar, 2002). Also takes rice and wheat brans (Siddiqui and Choudhury, 1996).

Accessory respiration: Possesses tree-like accessory respiratory organ (Bhuiyan, 1964) commonly known as aborescent organ and air fan (Hasan and Mohsin, 2011).

Body composition: In every 100 g flesh- 32.0 g protein, 2.0 g fat, 0.7 g iron, 172 mg calcium, 300 mg phosphorus and 66.3 g water are available (Siddiqui and Choudhury, 1996).

Spawning: This species has a short spawning period during July-August, coinciding the south-west monsoons (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Its attain maturity at the end of the first year of its life; at 20 cm length (Siddiqui and Choudhury, 1996).  They prefer inundated paddy fields and similar water body most for spawning. Also breeds in confined waters like ponds and tanks. Builds nest prior to breed (Shafi and Quddus, 2001).

Fecundity is 1477 (31 cm, 235 g) and 6520 (20.5 cm, 90 g); eggs are adhesive and green in color (Shafi and Quddus, 2001).

Fishery info: This cat fishes has both the high nutritive value and high market price. Production of this species are also considerable such as 5043 kg/ha obtained from farm pond of 0.1 ha (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991). Beside this, it has delicious taste and nutritive properties, for this Physicians prescribe it for the convalescents. Preferred by rich people (Siddiqui and Choudhury, 1996).

Captured by harpoons, dip nets, push nets and traps; also good sport on rod and line (Bhuiyan, 1964). Can be used to eradicate mosquito larvae in drains (Shafi and Quddus, 2001). Only living fishes are of great demand in the market whereas dead fish has no value (Siddiqui and Choudhury, 1996).



Bhuiyan AL (1964) Fishes of Dacca, Asiat. Soc. Pakistan, Pub. 1, No. 13, Dacca, pp. 82-84.

Cuvier G and Valenciennes A (1840) Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome quinzième. Suite du livre dix-septième. Siluroïdes. Histoire naturelle des poissons. 15: i-xxxi + 1-540, Pls. 421-455.

Day F (1877) The fishes of India; being a natural history of the fishes known to inhabit the seas and fresh waters of India, Burma, and Ceylon. The fishes of India; being a natural history of the fishes known to inhabit the seas and fresh waters of India, Burma, and Ceylon. Part 3: 369-552, Pls. 79-138.

Galib SM, Samad MA, Hossain MA, Mohsin ABM and Haque SMM (2010) Small Indigenous Species of Fishes (SISF) in Chalan Beel with Reference to their Harvesting and Marketing, Bangladesh Journal of Progressive Science and Technology, 8(2): 251-254.

Galib SM, Samad MA, Mohsin ABM, Flowra FA and Alam MT (2009) Present Status of Fishes in the Chalan Beel- the Largest Beel (Wetland) of Bangladesh, Int. J. Ani. Fish. Sci. 2(3):214-218.

Hasan MM and Mohsin ABM (2011) Freshwater Air-Breathing Fishes of North-West Bangladesh, LAP-Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, 92 pp.

Huda MS, Haque ME, Babul AS and Shil NC (ed.) (2003) Field guide to finfishes of Sundarban, Aquatic resources division, Sundarban, Boyra, Khulna, Bangladesh, p. 79.

IUCN Bangladesh (2000) Red book of threatened fishes of Bangladesh, IUCN- The world conservation union. xii+116 pp.

Linnaeus C (1758) Systema Naturae, Ed. X. (Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.) Holmiae. Systema Naturae, Ed. X. 1: i-ii + 1-824.

Rahman AKA (1989) Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 1st edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 164-165.

Rahman AKA (2005) Freshwater Fishes of Bangladesh, 2nd edition, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, pp. 183-184.

Samad MA, Asaduzzaman M, Galib SM, Kamal MM and Haque MR (2010) Availability and Consumer Preference of Small Indigenous Species (SIS) of the River Padma at Rajshahi, Bangladesh, International Journal of BioResearch 1(5): 27-31.

Shafi M and Quddus MMA (2001) Bangladesher Matsho Shampad (Fisheries of Bangladesh) (in Bengali), Kabir publication. Dhaka, Bangladesh. pp. 222-231.

Shammi QJ and Bhatnagar S (2002) Applied Fisheries, Agrobios, India, p. 295.

Siddiqui K and Choudhury SN (1996) A Manual on Pond Pisciculture, The National Institute of Local Government, Dhaka, Bangladesh, p. 106.

Talwar PK and Jhingran AG (1991) Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries, Vol. 2, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi-Calcutta, pp. 684-685.

Yadav BN. 1999. Fish and Fisheries, Daya Publishing House, Delhi, India, p. 25.


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