Close-up of head
Video showing terrestrial feeding behavior. A small piece of fish is presented on the terrestrial section of the aquarium.
Video (slow-motion) from a high-speed recording zoomed in on the moment of prey capture / feeding terrestrially on a piece of fish.
Close-up of tail
Close-up of head
60 cm plus
|Cat-eLog Data Sheet|
|Scientific Name||Channallabes apus (Günther, 1873)|
|Common Names||Eel Catfish
Lemmeløs ålemalle (Denmark)
|Type Locality||Interior of Ambriz, Angola.|
|Pronunciation||cha nal ah bez - ah pess|
|Etymology||Channallabes: 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.|
- CotM 2010 July
|Size||600mm or 23.6" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.|
|Identification||Distinguished by the extremely elongate body, reduced cranial shield, confluent median fins, small eyes and absence of pelvic fins.|
|Sexing||The 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 Remarks||Recent 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.
|Distribution||Central Africa: Angola to Congo River Basin.
African Waters, Congo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Log in to view data on a map.
|IUCN Red List Category||Least Concern, range map and more is available on the IUCN species page. Last assessed 2009.|
|pH||5.8 - 7.0|
|Temperature||22.0-27.0°C or 71.6-80.6°F (Show species within this range)|
|Other Parameters||Sensitive to bad water; this species appears particularly susceptible to bacterial / parasitic infections.|
|Feeding||Will take all manner of pelleted food, as well as frozen/live food (the latter being preferred).|
|Furniture||Provide plenty of driftwood for the fish to hide. Ensure that the tank cover is tight-fitting/weighed down, they are capable of climbing out.|
|Compatibility||A peaceful fish that is best suited for the West African biotope tank. Ideal tankmates include mid-sized African barbs, tetras, and cichlids.|
|Breeding Reports||There is no breeding report.|
|Reference||Annals and Magazine of Natural History (Series 4) v. 12 (no. 68) (art. 19), pp 142.|
|Registered Keepers||Keeping this species? Why not .
There are 14 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
|Wishlists||Love this species? Click the heart to add it to your wish list.
There are 2 wishes to keep this species, see who wants what.
|Spotters||Spotted this species somewhere? Click the binoculars!
There are 3 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
|More on Channallabes apus|
|Look up Channallabes apus on AquaticRepublic.com|
|Look up Channallabes apus on Fishbase|
|Get or print a QR code for this species profile, or try our LFS label creator.|
|Last Update||2019 Sep 22 06:12 (species record created: 2001 Jun 09 00:00)|