Obbes' Catfish, Porochilus obbesi Weber 1913

Other Names: Obbe's Catfish

Obbes' Catfish, Porochilus obbesi. Source: Dave Wilson / Aquagreen. License: All rights reserved


A small grey to brown eel-tail catfish, often with 1 or 2 narrow whitish mid-lateral stripes, and dusky to clear fins. The species prefers habitats with abundant aquatic plant growth.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2020, Porochilus obbesi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/3310

Obbes' Catfish, Porochilus obbesi Weber 1913

More Info


Reynolds river, Adelaide River, and the South and East Alligator Rivers in the Northern Territory, and the northern Cape York Peninsula, and the McIvor River and Cape Flattery in Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in West Papua, Indonesia. 

Usually inhabits areas with submerged weeds in slow-flowing streams and backwaters, or shallow waters in flooded swamps and lagoons.


Dorsal fin I, 4-5; Caudal-Dorsal-Anal fins 109-123; Pectoral fin I, 7-9; Vertebrae 43-45.

Body elongate, slender, laterally compressed and tapering posteriorly; head broad and flattened but relatively small; eye moderately sized and anteriorly positioned; mouth with jaw teeth; upper lip perforated by the front nostrils opening downwards; lateral line discontinuous; four pairs of nasal barbels.

Scales absent, covered in smooth skin. Small anterior dorsal fin supported by one sharp, non-serrated spine with 4 or 5 soft rays; second dorsal and anal fins confluent with caudal fin; caudo-dorsal fin base less than 10% of SL.


Maximum size about 12 cm, commonly to 8 cm.


Grey or brown, often with 1 or 2 narrow whitish mid-lateral stripes; fins dusky to clear.


Feeds on insects and their larvae, shrimps and molluscs.


Little is known of the reproductive biology of this species.


The species is named in honour of Dutch artist Mr J.F. Obbes, who illustrated the fishes in Weber’s Siboga monograph.

Species Citation

Porochilus obbesi Weber 1913, Nova Guinea (Zoologie) 9(4): 523, figs 4-5. Type locality: Lorentz River at Sabang, New Guinea.


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Obbes' Catfish, Porochilus obbesi Weber 1913


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.

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

Brooks, S., Ebner, B. & Kennard, M. 2019. Porochilus obbesi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T122901724A123382061. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T122901724A123382061.en. Downloaded on 17 November 2020.

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.

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

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293

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

Pusey, B.J., Burrows, D.W., Kennard, M.J., Perna, C.N., Unmack, P.J., Allsop, Q. & Hammer , M.P. 2017. Freshwater fishes of northern Australia. Zootaxa 4253(1): 1-104. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4253.1.1

Pusey, B.J., Kennard, M.J. & Bird, J. 2000. Fishes of the dune fields of Cape Flattery, northern Queensland and other dune systems in north-eastern Australia. Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwater 11(1): 65-74 

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

Weber, M. 1913. Süsswasserfische aus Niederländisch Süd-und-Nord-Neu-Guinea. Nova Guinea (Zoologie) 9(4): 513-613 figs 1-36 pls 12-14 See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37192014

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Max Size:12 cm TL

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