7 Most Common Types of Catfish and their Scientific Name

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Catfish stand out among all the other kinds of fish because they don’t have scales, which are often considered to be the most amazing feature of the fish species. Instead of scales, catfish have spines in the front of their fins and also fleshy and ray-less posterior fin which is called an adipose fin.

Catfish is now becoming more preferred to other types of fish globally. Virtually every family now eats catfish not just because of its taste but because it is reach in protein and a good source of Omega3. However, not every catfish is tasty like the others. Therefore, there is need to know the most common types of catfish that can serve for consumption and for the market around the world.

For all catfish farmers, who found it difficult to identify the types of catfish that good for rearing, this post intend to address that because there are many benefits of catfish farming you need to tap into.

There are different species of catfish across the globe. As farmer, that means you should make proper inquiries to know the ones that can be sold in and around the markets in your locality.

Historically, the catfish population is very diverse with almost 3000 species known to date. They rank second or third among all the vertebrates in terms of their diversity and interestingly, one in every twenty vertebrates and also one in every ten species of fish is a catfish.

Most Common Types of Catfish and their Scientific Name

There are over three thousand (3000) different types of catfish across the globe, but we shall mention seven most common types of catfish and their scientific name. These seven species are the most popular types. The reason could be because of their taste and market value.

Below is a list of popular and common types of catfish, including different aquarium catfish for fish-keepers as well as some species of giant catfish.

1. Blue Catfish

This is one of the most common types of catfish, it also has other common names including Mississippi White Catfish, high fin blue and humpback blue, to name a few.

The scientific name for Blue Catfish is Ictalurus Furcatus where ‘Ictalurus’ is Greek for “fish cat” and ‘fucatus’ is Latin for “forked”. Together the scientific name is a reference to the forked tail fin of the blue catfish.

2. Channel Catfish

Channel catfish typically sports an olive brown or slate color, often with hues of blue or grey on the sides. They also have white to silver white bellies and undersides. One of the most distinguishing features of the channel catfish, as their scientific name also suggests, is the presence of numerous small black spots on the length of their bodies.

The scientific name of the Channel Catfish is Ictalurus Punctatus where ‘punctatus’ is Latin for “spotted”, referring to its spotted design. Like the blue catfish, these species also have deeply forked tails quite to similar to the former; with the only exception that the latter’s tail is of a different color.

3. Vundu Catfish

The scientific name of the Vundu Catfish is Heterobranchus Longifilis. This type of catfish is usually known by its dorsal fin that is almost divided by 60/40 on its back. The remaining 40% of the fin that extends down to its tail is called the adipose fin.

This means that the specie has both the dorsal and the adipose fin on its back. Looking at the adipose fin you will almost believe it is an additional flesh in the body.

Another identification of heterobranchus is that they have a flat head. Just have that in mind anytime you are looking out for the species of catfish to take.

4. Flathead Catfish

This species has a few other common names like Shovelhead Cat, Yellow Cat, Mud Cat, and Pied Cat. Their scientific name is Pylodictis Olivaris where ‘pylodictis’ is Greek for “mudfish” and ‘olivaris” is a Latin word that translates to “olive-colored” in English

Flathead is commonly found to be yellow in color which is why one of their common names is “yellow cat”. However, their skin is often a mixture of yellow and olive brown with pale yellow or cream-colored undersides and light brown to pale yellow backsides.

They have a fairly smooth skin without any scales, long and sharp spines on the back, and also cat-like whiskers around the mouth region.

The scientific name of the Flathead Catfish is Pylodictis olivaris

5. African Sharptooth Satfish

The African Sharptooth Satfish and its scientific name Clarias gariepinus is one of the most common types of catfish and most widely consumed freshwater fish in Africa due to its large acceptability.

In clarias, there is the absence of the adipose fin, remember that the adipose fin is mostly found in Heterobranchus but in clarias the fin stretches from the neck region to the tail without division. As a matter of fact, anytime you see catfish with a long fin from the neck straight down to the tail that will tell you is clarias specie. Another thing is that their head is spherical and a bit tall.

6. Hybrid 

Hybrid is a specie derived from cross-breeding of clarias gariepinus and heteroblanchus longifilis. That means that the specie has both the features of clarias gariepinus and heteroblanchus longifilis. The easiest way to identify this catfish is through its 90/10 fin at the back.

Looking at the back, you will notice that it has a fin that covers 90% of the back and 10% adipose fin. The scientific name of the Hybrid  Catfish is Clarias X Heterobranchus.

7. Cory Catfish

Corydoras or the cory catfish are popular pet catfish for aquariums. These species of catfish grow up to 3 inches in length and have a relatively long lifespan of 20 years.

hey are freshwater catfish, timid, non-violent, and easy to care for. They’re omnivorous so a mixture of a plant & meat-based diet is best when caring for cory catfish. The Cory Catfish scientific name is Corydoras.


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