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Species: Cathorops belizensis, Belize Sea Catfish

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D spine = pectoral spine
fins & barbels pale
gill rakers: 1st arch 19-20, 2nd 16-19
rear of pectoral spine - inconspicuous serrations
A 18-21

Cathorops belizensis Marceniuk & Betancur-R., 2008

Belize Sea Catfish

Head very long and depressed, 25.8-31.9% of SL; snout short, 6.9-8.9% of SL; shield on top of head long and highly granulated, covered with thin skin; a deep, well defined groove along center-top of head; bony process between head shield and dorsal fin base short and wide behind; distance from tip of snout to dorsal fin origin 33.5-40.7% of SL; plate at base of dorsal fin a short, wide crescent; eye moderate, 3.6-4.4% of SL; 2 pairs of close-set nostrils; no fleshy furrow extends across snout and connects rear nostrils; 3 pairs of barbells (on chin and both jaws), top barbell reaching past pectoral spine base; mouth narrow, lower jaws arched, lips thick; roof of mouth with 1 pair of moderately large, well separated, oval tooth patches with large molariform teeth, tooth patches considerably larger in females; jaw teeth in several rows, front teeth smaller than back, which are molar-like; gill openings restricted to sides by adhesion of gill membranes to breast; gill rakers 19-20 on first arch, 16-19 on second arch, present on rear surfaces of first two gill arches; gill rakers of first two arches without fleshy papillae between them; dorsal fin spine equal in length to pectoral fin spine; rear edges of pectoral spine with short, inconspicuous serrations; anal fin 18-21 rays; 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; fins and barbells pale.

Reaches 32 cm.

Known only from brackish water.

Depth range: 1-5 m?


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  • Brackish
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mangrove
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Caribbean endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 32
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 5