Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Sciades couma, Couma Sea Catfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

bone behind headshield- broad base, tapering, convex above
plate before D - large saddle
abruptly white below
transverse skin flap between nostrils
roof mouth: 2 pr tooth patches fused in U
gill rakers- 2nd arch 19-20

Sciades couma (Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1840)

Couma Sea Catfish

Head rounded, only slightly flattened; snout long, overhangs mouth, only slightly rounded when viewed from above; bony head shield very rough, granular, extends forward to between eyes; bony process between head shield and pre-dorsal plate rough, broad at base, tapering to rear, rounded above, without a keel; bony plate at front of base of dorsal fin large, saddle shaped; a large transverse skin fold between rear nostrils; three pairs of barbels (on both jaws and chin), top barbels with very thick bases; roof of mouth with two pairs of patches of conical teeth, front pair fused centrally and continuous with rear pair, the entire set U shaped; gill rakers on second arch 19-20 (17-21), no tiny rakers on rear of 1st 2 gill arches; gill opening wide, membranes not adhering to breast; pectoral soft rays 11 (10-11); tail fin deeply forked; a complete lateral line, with branches to top and bottom base of tail fin, no scales.

Yellowish-grey to dark grey brown above, abruptly white below; all fins dark grey, pectorals and pelvics with white edges.

Reaches 100 cm.

Rivers and turbid estuaries, to hypersaline waters.

Depth range: 1-20 m?

The Gulf of Paria (Venezuela) to the mouth of the Amazon.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 100
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 20