Clarias batrachus
(Linnaeus 1758)
Family Clariidae

Lateral view of a walking catfish
The walking catfish pictured above was collected in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It is now part of the Florida Museum ichthyology collection, UF 238365. Florida Museum photo by Zachary Randall

The walking catfish is part of the labyrinth catfish family. This species has an elongate body, flattened head and extremely long dorsal and anal fins. The head and body are uniformly gray to grayish-brown, and there are four pairs of barbels. Walking catfishes can be found in rivers, creeks, lakes, swamps, ditches, wetlands and canals with soft substrates – with or without vegetation – and is tolerant of turbid, muddy, hypoxic and brackish waters.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Non-indigenous freshwater
  • Florida Distribution — Peninsula drainages
  • River Drainages — Withlacoochee River, Tampa Bay, the Myakka or Peace River, Lake Okeechobee, Caloosahatchee River, Everglades, Indian River, St. John’s River and the Tolomato or Matanzas River
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