<i>Ariopsis paucus </i> Click to enlarge image
Shovelnose Catfish at the surface, Lawn Hill Gorge, Queensland, July 2006. Thank you to P. Kailola for assistance with the identification of the fish in this image. Image: Ian Graham
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    paucus
    Genus
    Ariopsis
    Family
    Ariidae
    Order
    Siluriformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to at least 60 cm in length.

Introduction

The Shovelnose Catfish can be recognised by its forked tail, wide mouth and truncate snout. It usually has a smaller eye than the similar looking Silver Cobbler, Ariopsis midgleyi. This species is endemic to Australia.

Identification

The Shovelnose Catfish can be recognised by its forked tail, wide mouth and truncate snout. It usually has a smaller eye than the similar looking Silver Cobbler, Ariopsis midgleyi. Eye length is 8.9% - 15.3% of head length in A. paucus versus 12.9% - 21.8% of head length in A. midgleyi.
This species is endemic to Australia.

Habitat

The Shovelnose Catfish is usually found in freshwaters over soft substrates.

Distribution

This species is endemic to Australia, occurring from the Roper River, Northern Territory to Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. Its distribution is disjunct from that of the Silver Cobbler, which occurs in more westerly drainages including the Victoria, Katherine, Daly, Ord and Kimberley as well as northern waterways such as the Alligator River.

One paratype specimen of this species is stored in the Australian Museum Fish Collection (AMS I.25315-001).

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



References

  • Kailola, P.J. 2000. Six new species of forktailed catfishes (Pisces, Teleostei, Ariidae) from Australia and New Guinea. The Beagle. Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory. 16: 127–144.