Toothless Catfish, Anodontiglanis dahli Rendahl 1922

Toothless Catfish, Anodontiglanis dahli. Source: Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit, Murdoch University. License: All rights reserved

A mottled greyish to brown catfish with several vertical rows of pale dots on the sides. 
Video of Toothless Catfish in the Territory Wildlife Park, Northern Territory.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018, Anodontiglanis dahli in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Dec 2023,

Toothless Catfish, Anodontiglanis dahli Rendahl 1922

More Info


Known only from the Fitzroy River, Western Australia, to Cape York, Queensland. Inhabits sandy areas around woody debris in clear, flowing larger rivers and streams, and flooded lagoons.


Dorsal fin I, 6; Pectoral fin I, 11; Pelvic fin 12-13; Caudal-dorsal-anal fin 175-180; Gill rakers (first arch) 15-16; Vertebrae 52-54.

Body elongate and tapering posteriorly; head large, broad, slightly flattened with a steep snout to dorsal profile; eye large; no teeth in mouth but some in the pharynx; 4 pairs of barbels around the mouth. Scales absent. Anterior dorsal fin small but relatively tall with 1 sharp spine and 6 soft rays; 2nd dorsal and anal fins confluent with caudal fin, originating just behind 1st dorsal and in line with pelvic fins; Caudodorsal fin base length more than half SL; pectoral fin with 1 sharp spine and 11 soft rays; adipose fin absent.


To 40 cm, but commonly to 20 cm.


Mottled grey or brown overall with several vertical rows of pale dots along the sides.


Feeds by thrusting its snout into the sandy bottom on aquatic insect larvae, detritus, molluscs and prawns.


Little is known of the breeding biology other that spawning occurs early in the wet season.


Typically solitary. Sharp spines at the dorsal and pectoral fin origins are venomous.


The species is named dahli in honour of Norwegian zoologist and explorer Knut Dahl (1871-1951), who collected the holotype.

Species Citation

Anodontiglanis dahli Rendahl 1922, Meddr. Zool. Mus. Kristiania 5: 169, figs 2-3. Type locality: Glencoe River, Northern Territory.


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Toothless Catfish, Anodontiglanis dahli Rendahl 1922


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

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. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

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.

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.

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

Morgan, D.L., Allen, G.R., Pusey, B.J. & Burrows, D.W. 2011. A review of the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Zootaxa 2816: 1-64.

Morgan, D.L., Allen, M.G., Bedford, P. & Horstman, M. 2004. Fish fauna of the Fitzroy River in the Kimberley region of Western Australia – including the Bunuba, Gooniyandi, Ngarinyin, Nyikina and Walmajarii Aboriginal names. Records of the Western Australian Museum 22: 147-161.

Rendahl, H. 1922. A contribution to the ichthyology of north-west Australia. Meddelelser fra det Zoologiske Museum. Kristiania 5: 163-197 figs 1-6

Unmack, P.J. 2001. Biogeography of Australian freshwater fishes. Journal of Biogeography 28: 1053-1089.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37192016

Danger:Venomous spines

Habitat:Freshwater, estuarine

Max Size:40 cm TL


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