Neosilurus ater

Black catfish

(Black Catfish, Black Tandan)




Neosilurus ater

Common name(s)

Black Catfish, Black Tandan

Main colour(s)

Light grey to black with mottles

Body size

Usually about 25 cm long, but up to 47 cm long




Usually dark-brown to black-coloured, breeding adults may be pale brown with golden yellow flush on sides and belly during the spawning season. Two well spaced dorsal fins present with the posterior dorsal fin fused with the caudal (tail) fin; anal fin also fused with caudal fin to produce an eel-like tail. There is a sharp toxic spine associated with the dorsal fin and one with each pectoral fin. The snout is somewhat elongated and has 4 pairs of barbels or ‘whiskers’ near the mouth. It favours the bottom of flowing streams. Creeks on campus are important spawning areas as the fish migrate upstream from the main river channel during the wet season when the creek is flowing and deposit their eggs in the coarse sediments of the pools. Feeds mainly on aquatic insects, molluscs and small crustaceans.