Cat-eLog Right Arrow Clariidae Right Arrow Channallabes

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameChannallabes apus  (Günther, 1873)
Common NamesEel Catfish
Lemmeløs ålemalle (Denmark)
Type LocalityInterior of Ambriz, Angola.
Synonym(s)Gymnallabes apus
Pronunciationcha nal ah bez - ah pess
EtymologyChannallabes: From the Greek, channe, meaning anchovy and allabes, the name of a Nilotic fish (a kind of lamprey); in reference to the shape of the fish. From the Greek prefix a- meaning without and pous, meaning foot; in reference to the lack of pelvic fins.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 600mm or 23.6" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationDistinguished by the extremely elongate body, reduced cranial shield, confluent median fins, small eyes and absence of pelvic fins.
SexingThe genital papilla, which is to the right of the anus as you look at the fish with its head to the left, is elongated and pointed in males while it is round and relatively larger (and larger than the anus) in females. In ventral view especially, females are much broader in the body than males of equal age and rearing practices. It may be hard to see with the naked eye.
General RemarksRecent research has documented this species' ability to feed terrestially (videos above). The catfish's neck is especially flexible, with specialized vertebrae that allow it to hold its head up out of the water without using fins. The fish's diet provided the scientists with the first clue to its remarkable behaviour - it mainly eats beetles which are found on land. The researchers speculate that a similar feeding strategy could have been used by the first vertebrates to emerge from the oceans.

The fish is known to burrow into the substrate and has been caught by hook and line in waterlogged areas adjacent to rivers and swamps simply by digging a hole and fishing in the resulting pool.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionCentral Africa: Angola to Congo River Basin.
African Waters, Congo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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IUCN Red List StatusLeast Concern
pH5.8 - 7.0
Temperature22.0-27.0°C or 71.6-80.6°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersSensitive to bad water; this species appears particularly susceptible to bacterial / parasitic infections.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingWill take all manner of pelleted food, as well as frozen/live food (the latter being preferred).
FurnitureProvide plenty of driftwood for the fish to hide. Ensure that the tank cover is tight-fitting/weighed down, they are capable of climbing out.
CompatibilityA peaceful fish that is best suited for the West African biotope tank. Ideal tankmates include mid-sized African barbs, tetras, and cichlids.
BreedingNot reported.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesAnn. Mag. Nat. Hist. (Ser. 4)v. 12 (no. 68) - pp142
Registered Keepers(1) JAYcarreon, (2) Devangel (p: 2), (3) The-Wolf (p: 2), (4) RobDoran1, (5) haxjester (p: 2), (6) malawiman1, (7) scotty105, (8) jippo (k: 5), (9) Sabaji, (10) Gulper.

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Breeding ReportsNone.
Article - CotM 2010 July
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Last Update2017 Feb 24 14:21 (species record created: 2001 Jun 09 00:00)