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Species: Cathorops wayuu, Wayuu Sea Catfish

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body elongate
head shield - dense granules
D spine > pectoral spine
pectoral spine inconspicuous serrations
not yellow
bone behind head shield 9.1-11.5% SL, profile straight
eye small
too barbell to/past pectoral spine
gill rakers: 1st arch 17-20, 2nd arch 16-19
A 19-24

Cathorops wayuu Marceniuk et al, 2012

Wayuu Sea Catfish

Body elongate; head long, depressed, profile a little higher at rear, straight to concave on front & rear sides; snout long, rounded/ blunt; 2 pairs of close-set nostrils; no fleshy furrow extends across snout and connects rear nostrils; eyes small, on side; shield on top of head rough & granular, covered with thin skin, extending back past eyes, its rear process funnel shaped, short, moderately wide at rear, its profile straight to slightly convex, its length 9.1-11.5% of SL, 60-90% of head width, meets a short, narrow crescent-shaped plate at front of base of dorsal fin spine; a groove along top of head, front part fleshy, conspicuous, extending to level of rear nostrils, rear part bony, deep, with straight edges, tapering to rear; three pairs of relatively short, narrow barbels (on chin and both jaws), that of top jaw reaching to/past pectoral spine base in adult; mouth small, opens at front or slightly below; lips thin; one pair of oval, close-set tooth patches on roof of mouth, of variable size, with molar teeth, males with fewer, smaller teeth; gill opening restricted to sides by adhesion of gill membranes to breast; well developed, uniformly distributed gill rakers present on front and rear surfaces of first two gill arches, 17-20 (rarely 21) at front of 1starch, 16-19 on 2nd arch, no papillae between gill rakers; dorsal spine short (~20% SL), thick, front surface granular on basal 2/3, short serrations above, rear surface all with short serrations; pectoral spine relatively short (~18% SL,< dorsal spine), all of front edge with granules/small serrations, ~all rear edge with inconspicuous, short serrations; anal fin moderately deep, relatively short, 19-24 rays, outer edge concave; tail base low; tail fin deeply forked, lobes moderately long, top lobe longer; a complete lateral line, with branches to top and bottom base of tail fin, no scales.

Grey above, silvery white on sides & belly; fins dusky, often with red tinges, anal fin lighter than other fins; top jaw barbell dark, chin barbell lighter.

Reaches 39.5 cm.

Lives in brackish and coastal marine waters.

Depth: 0-20 m.

E Colombia to the Gulf of Paria.

Note: Genetically distinct from the cooccuring C. mapale, but the two species cannot be reliably distinguished morphologically.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • 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
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Caribbean endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 39.5
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 20