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

Genus/species: Phractocephalus hemiliopterus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They are named for their orange-red caudal fin. The snout is rounded with 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 up to 134 cm (4.5 feet). Weight up to 44 kg (97 lbs)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: P. hemiliopterus is native to South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins. They are 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. 

LONGEVITY: Approximately 20 to 30 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list and CITES: Not Evaluated.

REMARKS: P. hemiliopterus has been introduced, but is not established in Florida, perhaps a good thing as the redtail is a voracious predator on smaller fishes. Because of its size it is a popular game fish.

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.



California Academy of Sciences Rainforest Docent Training Class 2014

Ron’s flickr

Ron’s WordPress shortlink