The North African Catfish (Clarius gariepinus) is a freshwater air-breathing fish. It is also called the African Sharptooth Catfish or the Common Mudfish. It has gills (like fish) and a lung, which means that it needs to come to the surface of the water to breathe air. It is able to live in shallow mud for a long period of time.
The North African Catfish is eel-like, with a long, slender, dark-grey body and a white underbelly. It has a flat, bony head. Its mouth has four pairs of barbels (long string-like appendages).
It measures about 100-150 centimetres (39-59 inches) in length.
The North African Catfish is common throughout Africa and the Middle East. It prefers inland freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds, and swamps. It can tolerate very dirty, muddy waters.
They have been introduced to other countries, and are considered to be an invasive species.
It is nocturnal, active at night. It feeds on animal and plant matter, including dead birds.
The North African Catfish spawns in shallow water. Females lay eggs, which are distributed over a wide area. The parents do not look after the eggs. The eggs hatch quickly, and the larvae (young catfish) are able to swim within 48-72 hours after hatching.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM