Animal Species:Striped Catfish, Plotosus lineatus (Thunberg, 1791)

The Striped Catfish can be recognised by its oral barbels and striped colouration. The species lives in bays and estuaries where it is usually seen in dense schools.

Standard Common Name

Striped Catfish

Alternative Name/s

Catfish Eel, Eel-tailed Catfish, Lined Catfish, Striped Catfish Eel, Striped Eel Catfish

Identification

The Striped Catfish can be recognised by its striped colouration, barbels around the mouth, and its body shape which tapers to a point posteriorly. Small juveniles are black and large adults may be less distinctly striped.

Size range

The species grows to 35 cm in length.

Similar Species

Another common plotosid species which lives in temperate coastal Australian waters is the Estuary Catfish.

Distribution

The species is primarily tropical but has been recorded down the east and west coasts of Australia to Sydney, New South Wales and Esperance, Western Australia respectively. It lives in bays and estuaries where it is usually seen in dense schools.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Plotosus lineatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Striped Catfish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The species is usually found on protected reefs in coastal bays and estuaries (see comments below for sightings).

Feeding and Diet

It eats mainly benthic invertebrates and algae with larger individuals sometimes eating small fishes.

Economic/social impacts

Hutchins and Swainston (1986) gave the species a 3 star (good) edibility rating.

Danger to humans and first aid

The dorsal and pectoral fins have hidden venomous spines that can cause hours of intense pain and the risk of collapse from shock.

Classification

Species:
lineatus
Genus:
Plotosus
Family:
Plotosidae
Order:
Siluriformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  4. Underhill, D. 1987. Australia's dangerous creatures. Reader's Digest Services. Pp. 368.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Striped Catfish, Plotosus lineatus, Plotosidae, stripes or bands, barbels, bays, estuaries, Catfish Eel, Eel-tailed Catfish, Lined Catfish, Striped Catfish Eel, Striped Eel Catfish, 30 cm - 1 m, plotosid species, temperate water, coastal water, tropical water, dense schools,