Common name: Forktail catfishes


Forktailed catfishes are found worldwide, mostly in coastal marine and estuarine habitats, but several species occur in fresh waters of Australia and New Guinea. 

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Forktail catfishes, ARIIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Jun 2019,

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Family Taxonomy

Family Distribution

Family Size

Australian species range in size from 300 mm to 1.3 m, but some species from Asia reach a larger size.

Family Feeding

Most Australian ariid catfishes are thought to be omnivorous.

Family Reproduction


Kailola, P. (1999). Family Ariidae.  pp. 1827–1879 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397–2068

Kailola, P.J. (1983). Arius graeffei and Arius armiger valid names for two common species of Australo-Papuan fork-tailed catfishes (Pisces, Ariidae). Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 107(3): 187–196 figs 1–6

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. (1984). Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. Figs

Nelson, J.S. (1994). Fishes of the World.  New York : John Wiley & Sons 3rd Edn  600 pp.

Wheeler, A.C. & Baddokway, A. (1981). The generic nomenclature of the marine catfishes usually referred to the genus Arius (Osteichthyes - Siluriformes). J. Nat. Hist. 15: 769–773 fig.