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Species: Cathorops arenatus, Yellow Sea Catfish

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body short
eye small, 4,7-7.1% SL
head shield - dense granules
bone after head shield - profile convex
top barbell past pectoral spine
D spine > pectoral spine
gill rakers: 1st arch 17-23, 2nd 16-20
rear of pectoral spine - small, short serrations
A 21-24

Cathorops arenatus (Valenciennes in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1840)

Yellow Sea Catfish

Body relatively short; head a little depressed, profile a little convex; snout short; shield on top of head relatively long, with irregularly distributed patches of fine granules behind level of eyes, no granules on front extensions of shield; groove along center-top of head short, with irregular inner margins that are narrowest at the center, where they touch or nearly touch; bony process between head shield and dorsal fin base long, relatively narrow behind, its profile convex; bony plate at base of dorsal fin relatively wide and short; eyes small, 4.7-7.1% of SL; 2 pairs of close-set nostrils, those close to eyes; no fleshy furrow extends across snout and connects rear nostrils; 3 pairs of barbells (on chin and both jaws), top barbell long (27.3-41.4% SL), reaching the middle of the pectoral fin spine; mouth wide, lower jaws a little arched; lips relatively thick, lower lips thicker; roof of mouth with 1 pair of relatively small, well separated, oval tooth patches (narrower and smaller in male), equipped with large molar-like teeth; top jaw tooth bands fused, relatively short and narrow; each lower jaw with an elongate, teardrop-shaped band of teeth, pointed behind, front teeth smaller than larger, molar-like rear teeth on the broad front part of that patch; gill opening restricted to sides by adhesion of gill membranes to breast; gill rakers 17-23 (6-8+11-14) on first arch, 16-20 (4-7+11-14) on second arch, present on rear surfaces of first two gill arches, no papillae between front rakers; dorsal fin spine long and thick, longer than pectoral fin spine, inner 2/3 of front edge of spine with granules, outer 1/3 serrated, rear edges with short serrations; adipose dorsal fin small, low, its base short (<1/2 length of base of anal fin); pectoral spines long and thick, inner 2/3 of front of spine with granules, outer 1/3 serrated, rear edges with short serrations; anal fin 21-24 rays, its base longer than its height; tail base relatively deep, depth 8.1-10.1% of SL; tail fin deeply forked; a complete lateral line, with branches to top and bottom base of tail fin, no scales.

Preserved fish brownish, paler below; sides yellowish in life.

Reaches 22.8 cm, females larger than males.

Lives in estuaries.

Depth range: 1-10 m?

The Orinoco to the Amazon river.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic worms
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
  • 22.8
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 10