fishes text index | photo index
Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Plotosidae
Black eeltail catfish
Plotosus canius

Family Plotosidae
updated Oct 2016
if you learn only 3 things about it ...
It is small and usually hidden among seaweeds or under rubbish. Watch your step!
The 'whiskers' don't sting. They are used to find food in murky waters.
It has venomous spines. Don't touch it!

Where seen? These wriggly place eel-like fishes are sometimes seen on some of our shore. Usually seen alone, hiding in pools under stones or other debris on the shore, near seagrasses. Elsewhere, adults found mostly in estuaries and lagoons, and sometimes up rivers in nearly fresh waters.

Features:
Adults can reach 90cm-1.5m long, those seen at low tide on our shores usually much smaller, about 4-5cm long. Body long, cylindrical and flattening into an eel-like tail. Plain dusky-brown to black with a black dorsal fin tip and a pale belly. Venomous spines on the dorsal and pectoral fins.

Sometimes confused with Striped eeltail catfishes (Plotosus lineatus). The adults of these two eeltail catfishes may appear similar as the stripes on the Striped eeltail catfish fades with age. In Black eeltail catfish adults, the long barbels at the top of the snout can extend past the eyes. These barbels don't extend past the eyes in adult Striped eeltail catfishes.

Sometimes mistaken for
sea snakes or eels (Family Muraenidae). Here's more on how to tell apart sea snakes, eels and eel-like animals.

What does it eat? It eats crustaceans, molluscs and fishes.

Human uses: The large adults are harvested commercially for eating.

Juvenile about 4cm long
Changi, Aug 05


'Whiskers' (barbels) at the top of the snout
can extend past the eyes.

Changi, Aug 05

Body may not be black,
but tip of dorsal fin always black.
Changi, Apr 08

Tiny ones hiding among seaweeds.
Kusu Island, Sep 10

Eel-like tail: dorsal, anal
and tail fins are continuous.
Changi, Aug 05

Black eeltail catfishes on Singapore shores

Photos of Black eeltail catfishes for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


Tanah Merah, Sep 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Seringat-Kias, Dec 14
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Seringat-Kias, Feb 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.


St. John's Island, Sep 09

Photo shared by Neo Mei Lin on her blog.

Cyrene Reef, Aug 11
Photo shared by Lok Kok Sheng on his blog.


Terumbu Pempang Tengah, May 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Sisters Island, Dec 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Links
www.flickr.com
FREE photos of
marine fishes.
Make your own badge here.
links | references | about | email Ria
Spot errors? Have a question? Want to share your sightings? email Ria I'll be glad to hear from you!
wildfactsheets website©ria tan 2008