Animal Species:Obbes' Catfish, Porochilus obbesi Weber, 1913

Obbes' Catfish ranges from grey to brown in colour, sometimes with one or two pale stripes on the side of the body. The species occurs in slow-flowing freshwater streams and backwaters.

Two Obbes' Catfish in an aquarium

Two Obbes' Catfish in an aquarium
Photographer: David Wilson © David Wilson

Standard Common Name

Obbes' Catfish


Obbes' Catfish has a tapering body with a short-based first dorsal fin. It's long-based anal fin is continuous with the caudal and second dorsal fin. The first dorsal and pectoral fins are each preceded by a sharp spine. It is grey to brown, sometimes with one or two pale stripes on the side of the body.

Size range

The species grows to 12 cm in length, but is more commonly seen up to 8 cm.


The species occurs in southern Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. In Australia it has been recorded from Yam Creek (Daly River Drainage) and Fish Creek (East Alligator River Drainage), Northern Territory and the Wenlock and Jardine Rivers near the tip of Cape York, Queensland. It has also been collected from other areas in the northern Northern Territory (pers. comm. D. Buckle and R. Luxon, 2003).

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

Porochilus obbesi

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Obbes' Catfish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


The species occurs in slow-flowing freshwater streams and backwaters.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. T.F.H. Publications. Pp. 240.
  2. Allen, G.R. 1991. Field Guide to The Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea. Christensen Research Institute. Pub. 9. Pp. 268.
  3. 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.
  4. Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & M. Allen. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 394.
  5. Merrick, J.R. & G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Biology and Management. John R. Merrick. Pp. 409.
  6. Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen & J.E. Hanley. 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia Vol.7 Pisces Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Survey. Pp. i-xii, 1-665.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Obbes' Catfish, Porochilus obbesi, Plotosidae, grey, brown, pale stripes, stripes or bands, freshwater, streams, backwaters, tapering body, 10 cm - 30 cm,