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Bagre marinus
(Mitchill 1815)
Family Ariidae

Lateral view of a gafftopsail catfish
The gafftopsail catfish pictured above was collected in the Gulf of Mexico. It is now part of the Florida Museum ichthyology collection, UF 238455. Florida Museum photo by Zachary Randall

The gafftopsail catfish is a member of the sea catfish family. It has one pair of mental barbels as well maxillary barbels that extend beyond pectoral fin base, and are long and ribbonlike. The first dorsal and pectoral fin rays are long and ribbonlike also, and the head is covered in rugose, bony shield. The gafftopsail catfish enters turbid rivers, creeks and lakes.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Marine invader
  • Florida Distribution — Gulf Coast, South Florida and Atlantic Coast
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