Striped Catfish, Plotosus lineatus Click to enlarge image
Striped Catfish at Swansea, New South Wales, 20 February 2011. Image: Matt Dowse
© Matt Dowse

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    lineatus
    Genus
    Plotosus
    Family
    Plotosidae
    Order
    Siluriformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 35 cm in length.

Introduction

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.



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.

Habitat

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

The video below, shows a school of juveniles swimming over a sandy bottom in a shallow coastal locality.



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.



Feeding and diet

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

Economic impacts

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

Danger to humans

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



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.