Highfin Catfish, Neoarius berneyi (Whitley 1941)


Other Names: Berney's Catfish, Fork-tail Catfish, High-fin Catfish, Lesser Salmon Catfish

Illustration of a Highfin Catfish, Neoarius berneyi. Source: Gilbert H. Whitley. License: Copyright expired

Summary:

Identifying features:
Body stout with a bony head shield, snout rounded and slightly pointed, eye relatively large;
Mouth with 3 pairs of long barbels;
Dorsal and pectoral fins with robust venomous spines, dorsal fin tall, about equal to head length;
Silvery-bronze to dark grey, paler below.

The fin spines are venomous and may inflict a very painful wound.


Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray, Neoarius berneyi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2140

Highfin Catfish, Neoarius berneyi (Whitley 1941)

More Info


Distribution

Found in northern Australia from the Reynolds River, Northern Territory, to the ARcher River, Cape York, Queensland. Found elsewhere in New Guinea. usually inhabits freshwater rivers and stream, preferring slow-moving, turbid waters; also occasionally found amongst mangroves in brackish estuarine habitats.

Features

Meristic features:
Dorsal-fin spines/rays: I, 7
Anal-fin rays: 16-19
Pectoral-fin spines/rays: I, 9-11
Gill rakers: 15-20

Body stout, head ovate, snout rounded and slightly pointed, especially noticeable in juveniles; a crescent-shaped groove often present on snout between posterior nostrils; head 3.2-3.8 in SL; eye rounded, large (mean 4.3 in HL); 3 pairs of barbels around the mouth; barbels long and slender reaching back past the dorsal fin (2.1-3.1 in SL); gill rakers developed on the back of all gill arches; palatal teeth villiform, in transverse band of 3-4 patches, smaller inner patches at an oblique angle with outer patches, all patches joined on mid-line in larger fish. Scales absent, covered in smooth skin. Dorsal fin tall, fin height equal to head length.

Size

To around 45 cm TL

Colour

Silvery-bronze to dark grey overall and paler below.

Feeding

Omnivorous, feeds on prawns, insects, fish, worms, plant material and detritus.

Biology

Spawns during the late dry season from September to October, sometimes extending into February, during the middle of the wet season. Males incubate the developing eggs in their mouths. Eggs large, 1.1-1.4 cm diameter.

Similar Species

Most similar to Ariopsis graeffei but with a taller dorsal fin, slightly larger eye and difference in the shape of tooth patches on the roof of the mouth. The outer patches are larger than the inner in A. graeffei, but are about the same size in A. berneyi.

Species Citation

Tachysurus (Pararius) berneyi Whitley, 1941, Aust. Zool. 10(1): 9, fig. 8(5). type locality: Flinders River, near Hughenden and Richmond, QLD

Author

Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray

Highfin Catfish, Neoarius berneyi (Whitley 1941)

References


Allen, G.R. 1982. Inland Fishes of Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 86 pp. 6 figs 20 pls.

Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 240 pp., 63 pls.

Allen, G.R. 1991. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea. Madang : Christensen Research Institute 268 pp. [Publication No. 9 of the Christensen Research Institute]

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Allen, G.R., Storey, A.W. & Yarrao, M. 2008. Freshwater Fishes of the Fly River Papua New Guinea. Tabubil, Papua New Guinea : Ok Tedi Mining 216 pp.

Burgess, W.E. 1989. An Atlas of Freshwater and Marine Catfishes — a preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. Neptune City, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 783 pp.

Ferraris, C.J. 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418: 1–628.

Hoese, D. F. & Gates, J. E. 2006. Ariidae. pp. 350-356 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Checklist of the fishes of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 63: 9-50

Kailola, P.J. 2000. Six new species of fork-tailed catfishes (Pisces, Teleostei, Ariidae) from Australia and New Guinea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 16: 127-144.

Kailola, P.J. 2004. A phylogenetic exploration of the catfish family Ariidae (Otophysi: Siluriformes). The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 20: 87-166.

Larson, H.K. & Martin, K.C. 1990. Freshwater Fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences Handbook Series Number 1. Darwin : Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 102 pp. 73 figs.

Leggett, R. & Merrick, J.R. 1987. Australian Native Fishes for Aquariums. Artarmon : J.R. Merrick Publications 241 pp. 142 figs.

Marceniuk, A.P. & Menezes , N.A. 2007. Systematics of the family Ariidae (Ostariophysi, Siluriformes), with a redefinition of the genera. Zootaxa 1416: 1-126.

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

Paxton, J.R., Hoese, D.F., Allen, G.R. & Hanley, J.E. (eds) 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Pisces: Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 7 665 pp.

Szelistowski, W.A. 1989. Scale-feeding in juvenile marine catfishes (Pisces: Ariidae). Copeia 1989(2): 517-519.

Whitley, G.P. 1941. Ichthyological notes and illustrations. The Australian Zoologist 10(1): 1-50 figs 1-32 pls 1-2.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37188012

Biology:Mouth brooder

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Venomous spines

Habitat:Freshwater, occasionally estuaries

Max Size:45 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map