Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfish)
Family :Pimelodidae (Long-whiskered catfishes)

Genus/species: Phractocephalus hemiliopterus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Named for its orange-red caudal fin. Elongated with a rounded snout and three pairs of barbels around the mouth. The base body color is light black and little dark spots can be seen on the head. A wide, white band extends from the caudal peduncle to the tip of the snout. The belly is black, as are the fins except the upper tip of the dorsal fin which may be orange to red.
Length to 134 cm (4.5 feet). Weight to 44 kg (97 lbs).

Redtail Catfish Phractocephalus hemiliopterus (Pimelodidae)  IMG_8974


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins. Found in large freshwater rivers, streams and lakes.

DIET IN THE WILD: Fish, crabs and fruit.

REPRODUCTION: They exhibit external fertilization and do not guard the eggs. They live approximately 20 to 30 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list and CITES: Not Evaluated.

REMARKS: Because of its size, this cat is a popular game fish. Has been introduced, but is not established in Florida, perhaps a good thing as the redtail is a voracious predator on smaller fishes.
Unfortunately, the Steinhart inhabitants of our open-topped tank have swallowed shoes, cameras, sunglasses, a plastic dinosaur and cell phones, occurrences that have occasionally required manual (and extremely careful) extraction by a biologist or the veterinarian.



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