Wilang, Tandanus bellingerensis Welsh, Jerry, Burrows & Rourke 2017

Other Names: Bellinger Catfish

Holotype of the Wilang, Tandanus bellingerensis, from the Bellinger River, New South Wales. Source: Stuart Welsh. License: All rights reserved

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Tandanus bellingerensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/5360

Wilang, Tandanus bellingerensis Welsh, Jerry, Burrows & Rourke 2017

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Endemic to the Bellinger, Macleay, Hastings, and Manning rivers of the mid-north coast of New South Wales.

Similar Species

Differs from other species of Tandanus by having a combination of the following characters: a high count of rays in the continuous caudodorsal and anal fins (range 153–169, mode 159), a high count of gill rakers on the first arch (range 35–39, mode 36), and strongly recurved posterior serrae of the pectoral-fin spine.


The species is named bellingerensis in reference to the Bellinger River drainage, where this taxon was first recognized as an undescribed species based on genetic evidence. The common name ‘‘Wilang’’ (pronounced ‘‘Wilung’’) is based on the traditional name for catfish in the Gathang Language Group, the language of the Birrbay, Warrimay, and Guringay people. This name is also used by the Dhanggati Language Group.

Species Citation

Tandanus bellingerensis Welsh, Jerry, Burrows & Rourke 2017, Copeia 105(2): 230, Figs. 1-3. Type locality: Bellinger River at mouth of Kip Creek on Darkwood Road, approx. 26 km W of Bellingen, New South Wales, 30 26 39.8 S, 152 37 14.1 E.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Wilang, Tandanus bellingerensis Welsh, Jerry, Burrows & Rourke 2017


Gilligan, D. & Butler, G. 2019. Tandanus bellingerensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T122902013A123382076. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T122902013A123382076.en. Downloaded on 10 August 2020.

Jerry, D.R. 2008. Phylogeography of the freshwater catfish Tandanus tandanus (Plotosidae): a model species to understand evolution of the eastern Australian fish fauna. Marine and Freshwater Research 59: 351–360.

Jerry, D.R. & Woodland, D.J. 1997. Electrophoretic evidence for the presence of the undescribed ‘Bellinger' catfish (Tandanus sp.) in four New South Wales mid-northern coastal rivers. Marine and Freshwater Research 48: 235–240. 

Rourke, M.L. & Gilligan, D.M. 2015. Complex biogeography and historic translocations lead to complicated phylogeographic structure of freshwater eel-tailed catfish (Tandanus spp.) in south-eastern Australia. Conservation Genetics 16: 777–790.

Welsh, S.A., Jerry, D.R. & Burrows, D.W. 2014. A New Species of freshwater eel-tailed catfish of the genus Tandanus (Teleostei: Plotosidae) from the wet tropics region of eastern Australia. Copeia 2014(1): 136–142 https://doi.org/10.1643/CI-13-067

Welsh, S.A., Jerry, D.R., Burrows, D.W. & Rourke, M.L. 2017. A New Species of Freshwater Eel-tailed Catfish of the Genus Tandanus (Teleostei: Plotosidae) from Coastal Rivers of Mid-northern New South Wales, Australia. Copeia 105(2): 229–236 https://doi.org/10.1643/CI-16-547

Quick Facts

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Venomous spines


Max Size:45 cm SL


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