Overview

Comprehensive Description

[[ Family Ariidae Bleeker ]]

Introduction

The Ariidae are widely distributed, most of its species occurring along tropical and temperate areas of the world in coastal waters of the continents, estuarine regions and lower portions of coastal rivers. A restricted number of species is either entirely confined to marine waters where they can be found at depths of 150 meters or to fresh waters in the upper courses of rivers 500 kilometers away from their mouths.

The group was established by Bleeker (1862) as Phalanx Arii and formally defined by Regan (1911). Since then the inaccurate description of new taxa sometimes based on ontogenetic phases of the same species or on sexual differences added to the proliferation of names. The genera presently recognized were primarily defined on the basis of traditional morphological characters, such as shape of tooth plates, eye position on head, presence or absence of skin over the eye, extension of the branchial opening, type of ornamentation of skull bones, number and shape of barbels, etc., presently considered inconsistent or of limited information (pers. obs.).

Lack of adequate comparative material in studies of systematics and taxonomy of the Ariidae led to the recognition of species from widely separated regions of the world under the same generic name and this is reflected in classifications proposed during the 19th century (Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1840a, 1840b; Bleeker, 1858, 1863; Günther , 1864). Later on new genera and classifications were established based on geographic distribution of species involving faunas of different regions such as: Africa and Asia (Chaudhuri, 1916; Herre, 1926; Fowler, 1936, 1941; Chandy, 1953; Misra, 1959; Tobor, 1969; Jayaram & Dhanze, 1978; Jayaram, 1982, 1984; Taylor, 1986); Australia and Papua New Guinea (Weber & Beaufort, 1913; Hardenberg, 1941, 1948; Roberts, 1978; Kailola, 1999) and Americas (Jordan & Gilbert, 1883; Eigenmann & Eigenmann, 1890; Jordan & Evermann, 1898; Meek & Hildebrand, 1923; Gosline, 1945; Fowler, 1951; Taylor & Menezes, 1977; Figueiredo & Menezes, 1978; Kailola & Bussing, 1995; Acero, 2003).

More recently attempts have been made to redefine genera and to establish generic relationships, but primarily based on similarity of external characters not on presence of shared derived characters as proposed by the cladistic method (Hennig, 1950, 1966). Tilak (1965) primarily using characters associated with skull bones and the Weberian apparatus of species from India redefined some of the ariid genera and suggested that the characters he found could be used for species and genera worldwide. Higuchi (1982) however, studying the osteology of five species from southeastern and southern Brazil concluded that Tilak’s characters were not useful to diagnose genera from the Atlantic Ocean. Jayaram & Dhanze (1986) tried to define relationships among ariid genera from India also based on osteological and other morphological characters. They recognized two main “evolutionary lines”, one including the apparently closely related genera Ketengus ZBK and Batrachocephalus ZBK and the other the genus Arius ZBK , more specialized. Osteogeneiosus ZBK was considered the basal unit. However, no evidence that he was dealing with monophyletic groups was presented.

The major difficulties in undertaking a comprehensive study on the systematics of the Ariidae in order to provide a better definition of the included genera and to study their relationships is the great diversity and wide distribution of the group. Many of the species are rare in museum collections and are not available for anatomical studies. Recent studies of the phylogenetic relationships of ariid genera (Kailola, 1990a, 2004; Betancur-R., 2003; Betancur-R. & Acero, 2004; Betancur-R. et al., 2004) are geographically restricted and do not take into account species of many of the known ariid genera (see Discussion and comparison with previous classifications below).

In spite of the array of controversies concerning definition of genera and their relationships within the Ariidae , the monophyletic condition of the family was never seriously questioned. First considered as relatively primitive or “generalized in form and structure” during pre-cladistic studies (Regan, 1911; Berg, 1940), Ariidae was considered more primitive than Doradidae , Plotosidae , Schilbeidae and Bagridae an opinion not shared by Shelden (1937), Tilak (1963, 1965, 1967), Greenwood et al. (1966) and Chardon (1968). Using cladistic methodology, Mo (1991), Lundberg (1993) and de Pinna (1993) confirmed Ariidae as a monophyletic group. The first two suggested Doradoidea as the ariid sister group, but de Pinna (1993) attributed this condition to family Claroteidae and both this family and Ariidae would be the sister group of Schilbeidae and Pangasiidae . A similar conclusion was reached by de Britto (2002). Later on de Pinna (1998) also recognized Doradoidea as the sister group of the Ariidae .

The main objective in the present work is to revise and redefine the taxonomic status of ariid nominal genera using exclusive internal and external morphological characters and a combination of morphological characters and to propose a new species arrangement within the valid genera, examining the largest possible number of ariid representatives. The phylogenetic analysis is the subject of a future publication.

  • Alexandre P. Marceniuk, Naércio A. Menezes (2007): Systematics of the family Ariidae (Ostariophysi, Siluriformes), with a redefinition of the genera. Zootaxa 1416, 1-126: 4-5, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:FFC65592-D8DB-41BE-AEAC-A41EAB6C6185
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[[ Family Ariidae Bleeker ]]

Identification key to genera

This key is based on the use of external morphological characters allowing for the identification of taxa without the need of osteological preparations. Being artificial, it has to be used from its beginning since generic identification can be reached through different entries.

1. Maxillary barbel present ............................................................................................................................ 2

- Maxillary barbel absent .................................................................................................. Batrachocephalus ZBK

2. Mental barbels present; maxillary barbel soft, fleshy along its entire length ............................................ 3

- Mental barbels absent; maxillary barbel hard, bony along its entire length ....................... Osteogeneiosus ZBK

3. Two pairs of mental barbels; maxillary barbel cylindrical ........................................................................ 4

- A single pair of mental barbels; maxillary barbel compressed, tape-like ........................................... Bagre

4. Cephalic shield clearly exposed, ornamented with grooves, ridges and granules, covered by a very thin layer of skin; anterior and median nuchal plates indistinct; posterior cleithral process and second dorsal process of cleithrum distinct and pointed .................................................................................................. 5

- Cephalic shield only slightly exposed, covered by musculature and thick skin; anterior and median nuchal plates conspicuous; posterior cleithral process and second dorsal process of cleithrum connected by a bony blade ................................................................................................................................. Galeichthys ZBK

5. Premaxillary and dentary with several rows of conical, viliform or molar-like teeth ............................... 6

- Premaxillary and dentary teeth with a single row of incisiform teeth .......................................... Ketengus ZBK

6 . Adipose fin long, its base as long as anal-fin base .................................................................................... 7

- Adipose fin moderately long or short, its base no longer than one-half the length of anal-fin base ................................. 13

7. Anterior and median nuchal plates very reduced, forming a structure of semi-lunar aspect; posterior margin of occipital process concave; occipital process triangular shaped, moderately long and wide; accessory tooth plates bearing small conical teeth..................................................................................................... 8

- Anterior and median nuchal plates very large, square to pentagonal shaped; posterior margin of occipital process convex; occipital process round, very short and wide at base; accessory tooth plates large, bearing molar-like teeth ............................................................................................................................... Aspistor ZBK

8. Tooth plates associated with vomer present .............................................................................................. 9

- Tooth plates associated with vomer absent.............................................................................................. 10

9. Posterior cleithral process very short; accessory tooth plates transversely elongated and narrow............... ..................................................................................................................................................... Hemiarius ZBK

- Posterior cleithral process moderately long; accessory tooth plates large, triangular, oval or round........... ........................................................................................................................................................ Notarius ZBK

10. Posterior cleithral process very long; posterior cranial fontanel long and narrow .................................. 11

- Posterior cleithral process short or moderately long; posterior cranial fontanel wide and oval.............. 12

11. Accessory tooth plates present..................................................................................................... Cinetodus ZBK

- Accessory tooth plates absent....................................................................................................... Pachyula ZBK

12. Fenestra limited by supraoccipital, pterotic and sphenotic present; posterior cranial fontanel very large; posterior cleithral process very short.................................................................................... Cephalocassis ZBK

- Fenestra limited by supraoccipital, pterotic and sphenotic absent; posterior cranial fontanel large; posterior cleithral process moderately long ....................................................................................... Amphiarius

13. Accessory tooth plates bearing large molar-like teeth............................................................................. 14

- Teeth of the accessory tooth plates small or absent, when present conical or viliform ........................... 16

14. Adipose fin very short, its base less than one-half length of anal-fin base; medial groove of neurocranium limited by frontal bones and also on supraoccipital; posterior cranial fontanel very reduced or absent ..................................................................................... 15

- Adipose fin moderately long, its base about one-half as long as anal-fin base; medial groove of neurocranium mostly or exclusively on supraoccipital; posterior cranial fontanel conspicuous, long and narrow ... .............................................................................................................................................................. Arius ZBK

15. Lateral line bifurcated at caudal region; posterior cleithral process moderately long................. Plicofollis ZBK

- Lateral line not bifurcated at caudal region; posterior cleithral process very short..................... Cathorops

16. Lateral line not bifurcated at caudal region ............................................................................................. 17

- Lateral line bifurcated at caudal region ................................................................................................... 28

17. Temporal fossa present; fontanel limited by lateral ethmoid and frontal well developed, moderate to large .................................................................................................................................................................. 18

- Temporal fossa absent; fontanel limited by lateral ethmoid and frontal very reduced or inconspicuous..... .......................................................................................................................................................... Sciades

18. Medial groove of neurocranium limited by frontal and/or supraoccipital, rudimentary or absent............................................................................................. 19

- Medial groove of neurocranium limited by frontal and/or supraoccipital, very distinct...................................................... 22

19. Posterior cleithral process very short; posterior cranial fontanel very large ........................................... 20

- Posterior cleithral process moderately long; posterior cranial fontanel moderate to large ..................... 21

20. Accessory tooth plates absent..................................................................................................... Nedystoma ZBK

- Accessory tooth plates present.................................................................................................... Doiichthys ZBK

21. Posterior cranial fontanel oval and well developed; mesethmoid moderately wide at region of anterior nostrils................................................................................................................................... Potamosilurus

- Posterior cranial fontanel relatively long and narrow; mesethmoid very wide at region of anterior nostrils .................................................................................................................................................... Cochlefelis ZBK

22 . Epioccipital not invading dorsal portion of cephalic shield .................................................................... 23

- Epioccipital invading dorsal portion of cephalic shield ................................................................ Carlarius

23. Adipose fin very short, its base less than one-half length of anal-fin base .............................................. 24

- Adipose fin moderately long, its length about half as long as anal-fin base ........................................... 25

24. Tooth plates associated with vomer present ............................................................................... Brustiarius ZBK

- Tooth plates associated with vomer absent ................................................................................. Cryptarius ZBK

25. Posterior cleithral process moderately long; medial groove of neurocranium limited by frontal bones, but also on supraoccipital; posterior cranial fontanel reduced or absent or long and narrow ................................................................................... 26

- Posterior cleithral process very short; medial groove of neurocranium limited mainly by supraoccipital; posterior cranial fontanel very large and oval .......................................................................... Nemapteryx ZBK

26. Posterior cranial fontanel well developed, long and narrow ................................................................... 27

- Posterior cranial fontanel very reduced or absent ......................................................................... Genidens ZBK

27. Tooth plates associated with vomer absent; accessory tooth plates very reduced or absent ..... Potamarius ZBK

- Tooth plates associated with vomer present; accessory tooth plates large .................................... Neoarius ZBK

28. Tooth plates associated with vomer absent; adipose fin moderately long, its length about half as long as anal-fin base ......................................................................................................................................... Arius ZBK

- Tooth plates associated with vomer present; adipose fin very short, its base less than one-half length of anal-fin base ..................................................................................................................................... Netuma

New classification of the Ariidae

Family Ariidae Bleeker, 1862

Amissidens ZBK Kailola, 2004

Amissidens hainesi (Kailola, 2000)

Amphiariusnew genus

Amphiarius phrygiatus (Valenciennes, 1840)

Amphiarius rugispinis (Valenciennes, 1840)

Arius ZBK Valenciennes, 1840

Arius acutirostris ZBK Day, 1877 - sedis mutabilis

Arius africanusGünther , 1867 - sedis mutabilis

Arius arenarius ZBK ( Müller & Troschel, 1849) - sedis mutabilis

Arius arius (Hamilton, 1822)

Arius brunellii ZBK Zollezi, 1939 - sedis mutabilis

Arius burmanicus ZBK Day, 1870 - sedis mutabilis

Arius caelatus ZBK Valenciennes, 1840

Arius dispar ZBK Herre, 1926

Arius festinus ZBK Ng & Sparks, 2003 - sedis mutabilis

Arius gagora (Hamilton, 1822)

Arius jatius (Hamilton, 1822) - sedis mutabilis

Arius jella ZBK Day, 1877 - sedis mutabilis

Arius leptonotacanthus ZBK Bleeker, 1849 - sedis mutabilis

Arius macronotacanthus ZBK Bleeker, 1846 - sedis mutabilis

Arius maculatus ZBK (Thunberg, 1792)

Arius madagascariensis ZBK Vaillant, 1894

Arius malabaricus ZBK Day, 1877 - sedis mutabilis

Arius manillensis ZBK Valenciennes, 1840

Arius microcephalus ZBK Bleeker, 1855 - sedis mutabilis

Arius nenga (Hamilton, 1822) - sedis mutabilis

Arius oetik ZBK Bleeker, 1846 - sedis mutabilis

Arius subrostratus ZBK Valenciennes, 1840 - sedis mutabilis

Arius uncinatus ZBK Ng & Sparks, 2003 - sedis mutabilis

Arius venosus ZBK Valenciennes, 1840 - sedis mutabilis

Aspistor ZBK Jordan & Evermann, 1898

Aspistor luniscutis (Valenciennes, 1840)

Aspistor parkeri (Traill, 1832)

Bagre Cloquet, 1816

Bagre bagre (Linnaeus, 1766)

Bagre marinus (Mitchill, 1815)

Bagre panamensis (Gill, 1863)

Bagre pinnimaculatus (Steindachner, 1876)

Batrachocephalus ZBK Bleeker, 1846

Batrachocephalus mino (Hamilton, 1822)

Brustiarius ZBK Herre, 1935

Brustiarius nox (Herre, 1935)

Brustiarius proximus (Ogilby, 1898) - sedis mutabilis

Brustiarius solidus (Herre, 1935)

Carlariusnew genus

Carlarius gigas (Boulenger, 1911) - sedis mutabilis

Carlarius heudelotii (Valenciennes, 1840)

Carlarius latiscutatus ( Günther , 1864)

Carlarius parkii ( Günther , 1864)

Cathorops Jordan & Gilbert, 1822

Cathorops agassizi (Eigenmann & Eigenmann, 1888)

Cathorops aguadulce (Meek, 1904)

Cathorops arenatus (Valenciennes, 1840)

Cathorops dasycephalus ( Günther , 1864)

Cathorops fuerthii (Steindachner, 1877)

Cathorops hypophthalmus (Steindachner, 1877)

Cathorops mapale ZBK Betancur-R. & Acero, 2005

Cathorops melanopus ( Günther , 1864)

Cathorops multiradiatus ( Günther , 1864)

Cathorops spixii (Agassiz, 1829)

Cathorops steindachneri (Gilbert & Starks, 1904)

Cathorops tuyra (Meek & Hildebrand, 1923)

Cephalocassis ZBK Bleeker, 1858

Cephalocassis bleekeri (Popta, 1900) - sedis mutabilis

Cephalocassis borneensis (Bleeker, 1851)

Cephalocassis manillensis (Valenciennes, 1840) - sedis mutabilis

Cephalocassis melanochir (Bleeker, 1852)

Cinetodus ZBK Ogilby, 1898

Cinetodus carinatus (Weber, 1913) - sedis mutabilis

Cinetodus froggatti (Ramsay & Ogilby, 1886)

Cochlefelis ZBK Whitley, 1941

Cochlefelis danielsi (Regan, 1908)

Cochlefelis dioctes (Kailola, 2000) - sedis mutabilis

Cochlefelis insidiator (Kailola, 2000) - sedis mutabilis

Cochlefelis spatula (Ramsay & Ogilby, 1886)

Cryptarius ZBK Kailola, 2004

Cryptarius daugueti (Chevey, 1932) - sedis mutabilis

Cryptarius truncatus (Valenciennes, 1840)

Doiichthys ZBK Weber, 1913

Doiichthys novaeguineae ZBK Weber, 1913

Galeichthys ZBK Valenciennes, 1840

Galeichthys ater ZBK Castelnau, 1861

Galeichthys feliceps ZBK Valenciennes, 1840

Galeichthys peruvianus ZBK Lütken , 1874 - sedis mutabilis

Genidens ZBK Castelnau, 1855

Genidens barbus ( Lacépède , 1803)

Genidens genidens (Cuvier, 1829)

Genidens machadoi ZBK (Miranda-Ribeiro, 1918)

Genidens planifrons (Higuchi, Reis & Araújo , 1982)

Hemiarius ZBK Bleeker, 1847

Hemiarius hardenbergi (Kailola, 2000) - sedis mutabilis

Hemiarius harmandi ZBK Sauvage, 1880 - sedis mutabilis

Hemiarius stormii (Bleeker, 1858)

Hemiarius sumatranus (Anonymous, 1830)

Hemiarius verrucosus (Ng, 2003) - sedis mutabilis

Ketengus ZBK Bleeker, 1847

Ketengus typus ZBK Bleeker, 1847

Nedystoma ZBK Ogilby, 1898

Nedystoma dayi (Ramsay & Ogilby, 1886)

Nemapteryx ZBK Ogilby, 1908

Nemapteryx armiger (De Vis, 1884)

Neoarius ZBK Castelnau, 1878

Neoarius augustus (Roberts, 1978) - sedis mutabilis

Neoarius berneyi (Whitley, 1941) - sedis mutabilis

Neoarius graeffei (Kner & Steindachner, 1867)

Neoarius midgleyi (Kailola & Pierce, 1988)

Neoarius pectoralis (Kailola, 2000) - sedis mutabilis

Netuma Bleeker, 1858

Netuma bilineatus (Valenciennes, 1840)

Netuma thalassinus ( Rüppell , 1837)

Notarius ZBK Gill, 1863

Notarius armbrusteri Betancur-R. & Acero, 2006 - sedis mutabilis

Notarius biffi ZBK Betancur-R. & Acero, 2004 - sedis mutabilis

Notarius cookei (Acero & Betancur-R., 2002) - sedis mutabilis

Notarius grandicassis (Valenciennes, 1840)

Notarius insculptus (Jordan & Gilbert, 1883) - sedis mutabilis

Notarius kessleri (Steindachner, 1877) - sedis mutabilis

Notarius lentiginosus (Eigenmann & Eigenmann, 1888)

Notarius neogranatensis (Acero & Betancur-R., 2002) - sedis mutabilis

Notarius osculus (Jordan & Gilbert, 1883) - sedis mutabilis

Notarius planiceps (Steindachner, 1877)

Notarius troschelii (Gill, 1863)

Osteogeneiosus ZBK Bleeker, 1846

Osteogeneiosus militaris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Pachyula ZBK Ogilby, 1898

Pachyula conorhynchus (Weber, 1913) - sedis mutabilis

Pachyula crassilabris (Ramsay & Ogilby, 1886)

Plicofollis ZBK Kailola, 2004

Plicofollis argyropleuron (Kuhl & van Hasselt, 1840)

Plicofollis crossocheilos (Bleeker, 1846) - sedis mutabilis

Plicofollis dussumieri (Valenciennes, 1840)

Plicofollis magatensis (Herre, 1926) - sedis mutabilis

Plicofollis nella (Valenciennes, 1840)

Plicofollis platystomus (Day, 1877) - sedis mutabilis

Plicofollis polystaphylodon (Bleeker, 1846)

Plicofollis tenuispinis (Day, 1877)

Potamarius ZBK Hubbs & Miller, 1960

Potamarius grandoculis (Steindachner, 1877)

Potamarius izabalensis ZBK Hubbs & Miller, 1960

Potamarius nelsoni (Evermann & Goldsborough, 1902)

Potamosilurusnew genus

Potamosilurus coatesi (Kailola, 1990) - sedis mutabilis

Potamosilurus latirostris (Macleay, 1883)

Potamosilurus macrorhynchus (Weber, 1913)

Potamosilurus robertsi (Kailola, 1990) - sedis mutabilis

Potamosilurus velutinus (Weber, 1907) - sedis mutabilis

SciadesMüller & Troschel, 1849

Sciades assimilis ( Gùnther , 1864)

Sciades bonillai (Miles, 1945)

Sciades couma (Valenciennes, 1840)

Sciades dowii (Gill, 1863) - sedis mutabilis

Sciades emphysetus ZBK Müller & Troschel, 1849

Sciades felis (Linnaeus, 1766)

Sciades guatemalensis ( Günther , 1864)

Sciades herzbergii (Bloch, 1794)

Sciades leptaspis (Bleeker, 1862)

Sciades mastersi (Ogilby, 1898) - sedis mutabilis

Sciades passany (Valenciennes, 1840)

Sciades paucus (Kailola, 2000) - sedis mutabilis

Sciades platypogon ( Günther , 1864)

Sciades proops (Valenciennes, 1840)

Sciades sagor (Hamilton, 1822)

Sciades seemanni ( Günther , 1864)

Sciades sona (Hamilton, 1822) - sedis mutabilis

Sciades utarus (Kailola, 1990) - sedis mutabilis

Discussion and comparison with previous classifications

The results obtained in this study are of primary importance for the systematics and taxonomy of the Ariidae for a long time a matter of controversy and misunderstanding among ichthyologists worldwide. The characterization of the genera, definition of their limits and species composition has been a great challenge within the systematics of the Siluriformes. Presently about 130 species are recognized as valid, but many need to be better characterized taxonomically. The difficulties in recognizing species identity and monophyletic taxa are mainly due to the wide geographic distribution of the group and the overall similarity in the external morphology of their representatives coupled with lack of adequate series of specimens in museum collections. Thus studies aimed at more comprehensive approaches on systematics and phylogeny of the Ariidae have not been entirely successful because of the above mentioned constraints.

Recently Kailola (1990a, 2004), Betancur-R. & Mejía (2000), Betancur-R. (2003), Betancur-R. & Acero (2004) and Betancur-R. et al. (2004) based on the cladistic method, presented a preliminary analysis of the phylogenetic relationships of part of the genera and species of the Ariidae . Kailola (1990a) in an unpublished doctoral thesis discussed the relationships and zoogeography of the marine catfishes from New Guinea and Australia and Betancur-R. & Mejia (2000) and Betancur-R. (2003) did a similar study as part of the requirements for completion of the undergraduate program and a master’s dissertation respectively (not published) in Colombia and adjacent tropical waters. In both cases the authors examined only a geographically restricted subset of the recognized species and genera, limited to the areas above mentioned. Those studies included only a small number of species from African coasts, South America and Indian Ocean and did not redefine the complex genus Arius ZBK . The results obtained by Kailola (1990a) are essentially repeated in Kailola (2004) and the results obtained by Betancur-R. & Mejía (2000) are presented in Betancur-R. et al. (2004), but only part of the information contained in Betancur-R. (2003) is included in Betancur-R. & Acero (2004). In an unpublished Ph.D. study, Marceniuk (2003) included the largest number of ariid species ever assembled from different geographic areas of the world and used a vast array of morphological characters to study the systematics and phylogeny of the group.

The present work is based on the results obtained by Marceniuk (2003). All nominal genera are revised and redefined through exclusive osteological characters and a combination of internal and external morphological characters. Based on examination of the type-species the following genera are considered valid: Arius ZBK , Aspistor ZBK , Bagre Cloquet 1816, Batrachocephalus ZBK , Brustiarius ZBK , Cathorops , Cephalocassis ZBK , Cinetodus ZBK , Cochlefelis ZBK , Cryptarius ZBK , Doiichthys ZBK , Galeichthys ZBK , Genidens ZBK , Hemiarius ZBK , Ketengus ZBK , Nedystoma ZBK , Nemapteryx ZBK , Neoarius ZBK , Netuma , Notarius ZBK , Osteogeneiosus ZBK , Pachyula ZBK and Sciades . The genera Plicofollis ZBK and Potamarius ZBK are considered valid through examination of species morphologically similar to the type-species. Representative material of Amissidens ZBK species-type was not examined and the genus is recognized exclusively on the basis of evidences presented by Kailola (2004). Amphiarius , Carlarius and Potamosilurus are described as new genera. The nominal genera Ailurichthys ZBK , Anemanotus ZBK , Ariopsis ZBK , Bagre Oken 1817, Felichthys ZBK , Glanis ZBK , Guiritinga ZBK , Hemipimelodus ZBK , Hexanematichthys ZBK , Pseudarius ZBK , Sciadeichthys ZBK , Sciadeops ZBK , Selenaspis ZBK , Septobranchus ZBK and Stearopterus ZBK are considered junior synonyms based on examination of the type-species and Leptarius ZBK and Pararius ZBK are considered junior synonyms based on examination of the type-species not cleared and stained. Ariodes and Tetranesodon ZBK are considered junior synonyms based on data presented by Kailola (2004). Breviceps ZBK Swainson, 1838 and Mystus ZBK Gray, 1854 are junior homonyms of names available for the genus-group and thus rejected. Catastoma ZBK and Sarcogenys ZBK are considered nomina nuda and designated as synonyms of Netuma , in agreement with Kailola (2004). Glanide is not a Latin name and was not considered. The nominal genera Ancharius ZBK , Paradiplomystes ZBK and Tachysurus ZBK , previously included in the family are not recognized as members of the Ariidae .

The new classification proposed contains many modifications in relation to previous ones and the status of nominal genera as well as species composition are in many instances entirely changed. The species treated as sedis mutabilis (see New classification of the Ariidae ) were not examined and their inclusion in the respective genera is preliminary. In this section conflicts between the new and previous classifications are discussed and brief considerations about former concepts of genera and species composition are made. Classifications proposed by Kailola (2004), Betancur-R. & Acero (2004) and Betancur-R. et al. (2004) based on recognition of genera as monophyletic units as well as more recent and historically important classifications are discussed.

The genera Amissidens ZBK and Cryptarius ZBK are considered valid and the species included in them are those recognized by Kailola (2004). Previously C. truncatus was included in Arius ZBK (Burgess, 1989; Kottelat et al, 1993; Rainboth, 1996; Martin-Smith & Tan, 1998; Kailola, 1999; Tan & Ng, 2000; Kailola, 2000a; Ng, 2003) and C. daugueti in Hemipimelodus ZBK ( Désoutter , 1977; Rainboth, 1996).

Amphiarius is a new genus established to accommodate A. rugispinis and A. phrygiatus previously included in a distinct genus not formally named by Marceniuk (2003). In Marceniuk & Ferraris (2003) these two species were preliminary included in Arius ZBK , following Taylor & Menezes (1977), Burgess (1989), Cervigôn (1992), Le Bail et al. (2000), Camargo & Isaac (2001) and Acero (2003), decision also chosen by Kailola (2004) who examined only A. rugispinis , but suggested that they could be part of a separate genus she never designated. Betancur-R. & Acero (2004), however, considered A. rugispinis to belong in Notarius ZBK based on mitochondrial information.

One of the major problems in ariid systematics has been the delimitation of the genus Arius ZBK . It has been considered a very inclusive genus where ariid species not clearly defined were preliminary accommodated in the past. Kailola (1999) and Acero (2003) recognized Arius ZBK as a non monophyletic assemblage pointing out the enormous difficulty in defining the genus. Recent attempts to bring ariid generic concepts to a better understanding using phylogenetic systematics (Kailola, 2004; Betancur-R. & Acero, 2004) did not consider all the species tentatively included in Arius ZBK to circumscribe the genus or to define its monophyletic condition. As defined in the present study Arius ZBK is senior synonym of Ariodes and Pseudarius ZBK and include twenty one species occurring from eastern Africa and western Madagascar to south and southeast Asia. All the included species can be easily told apart from the remaining ariid species occurring in the Americas, New Guinea and Australia by the typical bifurcation of the lateral line at the caudal region reaching the bases of the upper and lower caudal-fin lobes (versus lateral line simple, not bifurcated at the caudal region reaching or not the bases of the upper caudal-fin lobe) except for the species of the genus Bagre in which, however, there are one pair of mental barbels (versus two pairs in the Arius ZBK species). Arius ZBK species are different from ariid species belonging to Indian Ocean genera by having the adipose fin of moderate length, about half as long as the anal fin (versus adipose fin short, less than half the length of the anal fin, characteristic of Netuma and Plicofollis ZBK ), maxillary barbels present and always developed (versus maxillary barbels absent in Batrachocephalus ZBK and rudimentary in Ketengus ZBK ) and mental barbels present (versus mental barbels absent in Osteogeneiosus ZBK ). The apomorphic or plesiomorphic condition of these characters as well as monophyly of Arius ZBK will be discussed in Marceniuk & Menezes (in preparation). In the present work only morphological features that are useful to distinguish the species of Arius ZBK from the species of the remaining genera are emphasized.

In Aspistor ZBK we recognize A. luniscutis and A. parkeri . Betancur-R. & Acero (2004) without examining the type-species, considered Aspistor ZBK as junior synonym of Notarius ZBK , admitting that Aspistor parkeri (= Arius quadriscutis ZBK ) would be the basal most species within Notarius ZBK , a condition that would justify its recognition as subgenus. Kailola (2004), based on data in Acero & Betancur-R. (2002a, 2002b) and Aguilera & de Aguilera (2004), recognized Aspistor ZBK as valid and included in it eight species from South and Central America and one from New Guinea. In her phylogenetic analysis she examined only Arius hardenbergi ZBK Kailola, 2000 considered in the present study to belong in Hemiarius ZBK . The remaining species included by Kailola (2004) in Aspistor ZBK , except A. luniscutis and A. parkeri are herein considered to belong in Notarius ZBK or Sciades . In older classifications A. luniscutis and A. parkeri are Arius ZBK species (Taylor & Menezes, 1977; Burgess, 1989; Cervigôn , 1992; Le Bail et al, 2000; Camargo & Isaac, 2001; Acero, 2003).

Bagre Cloquet, 1816 is senior synonym of Bagre Oken, 1817, Glanis ZBK , Stearopterus ZBK , Breviceps ZBK non Merrem , 1820, Felichthys ZBK (replacement for Breviceps ZBK ), Ailurichthys ZBK , Mystus ZBK non Scopoli, 1777 and Anemanotus ZBK following previous classifications (Castro-Aguirre et al., 1999; Marceniuk & Ferraris, 2003; Kailola, 2004). Very little changes have occurred in the species composition of the genus. In older publications the species were included either in Felichthys ZBK (Jordan & Evermann, 1896; Eigenmann, 1912; Meek & Hildebrand, 1923; Fowler, 1951) or in Ailurichthys ZBK ( Günther , 1864; Jordan & Gilbert, 1883; Eigenmann & Eigenmann, 1890; Regan, 1907) with the list of species included remaining essentially the same except for those herein considered as junior synonyms.

Batrachocephalus ZBK , Ketengus ZBK and Osteogeneiosus ZBK are considered valid as previously recognized by several authors (Jayaram & Dhanze, 1978; Jayaram, 1982, 1884; Jayaram & Dhanze, 1986; Talwar & Jhingran, 1991; Kottelat et al., 1993; Manilo & Bogorodsky, 2003; Kailola, 2004). The condition of monospecific genera is maintained due to the presence of a large number of exclusive characters in the respective type-species.

Brustiarius ZBK is considered senior synonym of Pararius ZBK and includes B. nox , B. proximus and B. solidus . Kailola (2004) recognized the monophyly of the genus, but did not include B. proximus that was considered to belong in Netuma , whereas Pararius ZBK was designated junior synonym of Netuma . In previous classifications Brustiarius ZBK was considered junior synonym or subgenus of Arius ZBK in which the species now in Brustiarius ZBK were included (Burgess, 1989; Kailola, 1990b, 1999, 2000b; Allen, 1991; Allen et al., 1992; Larson & Williams, 1997; Hutchins, 2001).

The ariid species from the African west coast formerly included in Arius ZBK (Fowler, 1936; Taylor, 1986, 1990; Burgess, 1989; Daget, 1992) are allocated into a new genus named Carlarius .

The species composition of Cathorops proposed by Marceniuk & Ferraris (2003) is maintained, including C. dasycephalus , recently referred to Arius ZBK (Bussing & Lopez, 1994; Kailola & Bussing, 1995; Betancur-R., 2003) or to Ariopsis ZBK (Nelson et al., 2004). Evidences that Cathorops is monophyletic are presented by Marceniuk (1997) based on the study of most species of the genus and this was confirmed by Betancur-R. et al. (2004) and Kailola (2004) although examining a restricted number of species.

Cephalocassis ZBK is recognized as senior synonym of Hemipimelodus ZBK and includes C. bleekeri , C. borneensis , C. manillensis and C. melanochir . Kailola (2004) agrees with the synonymy, but considers Cephalocassis ZBK represented only by C. borneensis and C. melanochir . C. bleekeri is included in Nemapteryx ZBK by Kailola (2004). Hemipimelodus ZBK , however, is considered valid by Désoutter (1977), Jayaram & Dhanze (1978), Jayaram (1982), Burgess (1989) and Roberts (1989).

Cinetodus ZBK and Pachyula ZBK are considered valid based on characters present in the respective type-species. Cinetodus ZBK is represented by C. carinatus and C. froggatti and Pachyula ZBK by P. crassilabris and P. conorhynchus . Kailola (2004) recognized Cinetodus ZBK and Pachyula ZBK synonyms and included all the species mentioned above in Cinetodus ZBK , but in Kailola’s phylogenetic analysis Cinetodus ZBK is considered paraphyletic not justifying the inclusion of the species in a single genus and contradicting this synonymy. The species herein included in Cinetodus ZBK and Pachyula ZBK were considered sister-species by Kailola (2004), a condition that would make the two genera valid (Marceniuk, 2003). The nominal genus Tetranesodon ZBK considered synonym of Cinetodus ZBK by Kailola (2004), is recognized by us as junior synonym of Pachyula ZBK .

Cochlefelis ZBK includes four species from southern New Guinea and northern Australia. The recognition of C. danielsi and C. spatula is in agreement with previous classifications (Roberts, 1978; Allen, 1991; Kailola, 2004). However, including C. dioctes formerly considered to belong in Arius ZBK (Ng, 2003) or in Hemiarius ZBK (Kailola, 2004) and C. insidiator , previously in Hemiarius ZBK (Kailola, 2004), represents a new arrangement. Kailola (2004) also included Arius burmanicus ZBK in Hemiarius ZBK considered by us to belong in Arius ZBK .

Nedystoma dayi and Doiichthys novaeguineae ZBK have been considered sister-species by Marceniuk (2003), a conclusion also reached by Kailola (2004) who considered Nedystoma ZBK senior synonym of Doiichthys ZBK . In the present paper the two genera are not considered synonyms. The respective type-species possess a large number of exclusive characters justifying their monospecific condition as previously recognized (Roberts, 1978; Burgess, 1989; Allen, 1991).

Galeichthys ZBK includes G. ater ZBK and G. felis from South Africa and G. peruvianus ZBK from the Peruvian coast in the Pacific Ocean, following previous classifications (Hildebrand, 1946; Taylor, 1986, 1990; Pequeño , 1989; Bianchi et al, 1993; Kailola & Bussing, 1995; Chirichigno & Vélez , 1998, Castro-Aguirre et al, 1999; Marceniuk& Ferraris, 2003; Heemstra & Heemstra, 2004; Nelson et al., 2004; Kailola, 2004). The species from east and west American coasts attributed to Galeichthys ZBK by Regan (1907) and Meek & Hildebrand (1923) are included in Cathorops , Notarius ZBK and Sciades .

Genidens ZBK was established and remained until very recently as a monospecific genus. As defined in this study it is senior synonym of Guiritinga ZBK and also includes Genidens barbus , G. planifions and G. machadoi ZBK following Marceniuk & Ferraris (2003) and Marceniuk (2005a, 2005b). In previous classifications G. barbus and G. planifions were part of Netuma (Figueiredo & Menezes, 1978; Higuchi et al., 1982; Burgess & Finley, 1996; Pequeño , 1997; López et al., 2002). Higuchi et al. (1982) questioned the inclusion of these species in Netuma hoping that in future systematic studies the name Guiritinga ZBK would be resurrected. Apparently Higuchi et al. (1982) expectations motivated Kailola (2004) to recognize Guiritinga ZBK to accommodate Genidens barbus and G. planifions . Guiritinga ZBK is not recognized by Kailola (2004) as a monophyletic group.

Hemiarius ZBK is considered a valid genus for H. hardenbergi , H. harmandi ZBK , H. stormii , H. sumatranus and H. verrucosus . Kailola (2004) based on the examination of H. stormii and two other species herein included in Cochlefelis ZBK ( C. dioctes and C. insidiator ) considered Hemiarius ZBK monophyletic. Hemiarius verrucosus , Notarius grandicassis and Sciades sona were additionally included in Hemiarius ZBK by Kailola (2004).

Our analysis indicates that Nemapteryx ZBK is monospecific. Kailola (2004) includes in this genus five species herein allocated to the genera Arius ZBK , Neoarius ZBK and Cephalocassis ZBK . As revealed by the topology of the consensus cladogram presented by Kailola (2004), the genus cannot be considered monophyletic.

Neoarius ZBK is resurrected and includes N. augustus , N. berneyi , N. graeffei , N. midgleyi and N. pectoralis all restricted to southern New Guinea and northern Australia. With exception of N. augustus , included by Kailola (2004) in Nemapteryx ZBK , the other species were considered by her to belong in Ariopsis ZBK .

Bagre thalassinusRüppell , 1837 distributed from eastern Africa, south and southeast Asia to New Guinea and northern Australia (Kailola, 1986) is the type-species of Netuma . As defined by Kailola (2004) Netuma included N. bilineatus , Arius proximus ZBK (herein included in Brustiarius ZBK ) and N. thalassinus and is not monophyletic. In the present work only the species from the Indo-Pacific should be included in Netuma following Taylor (1986), Hutchins (2001) and Kailola (2004). The inclusion of species from the Western South Atlantic belonging to Genidens ZBK (Figueiredo & Menezes, 1978; Higuchi et al., 1982) and from the eastern and western American coasts belonging to Notarius ZBK and Sciades (Jordan & Evermann, 1898; Gilbert & Starks, 1904; Starks, 1906; Meek & Hildebrand, 1923) is not corroborated by us. Catastoma ZBK and Sarcogenys ZBK are considered nomina nuda and junior synonyms of Netuma as demonstrated by Kailola (2004).

Notarius ZBK is valid (Marceniuk & Ferraris, 2003; Betancur-R. & Acero, 2004) in disagreement with Kailola (2004) who recognizes Notarius ZBK as a junior synonym of Hemiarius ZBK . The species composition of the genus, however, differs from that presented by Betancur-R. & Acero (2004) by not including Amphiarius rugispinis and Aspistor parkeri (= Arius quadriscutis ZBK ) and adding Notarius osculus , considered by Betancur-R. & Acero (2004) as of uncertain status and included in previous classifications in Arius ZBK (Burgess, 1989; Bussing & López , 1994; Kailola & Bussing, 1995; Acero & Betancur-R., 2002a) or Hexanematichthys ZBK (Marceniuk & Ferraris, 2003). The nominal genus Sciadeops ZBK , recognized as junior synonym of Sciades by Kailola (2004), is considered junior synonym of Notarius ZBK .

Kailola (2004) described Plicofollis ZBK in which P. argyropleuron , P. crossocheilos , P. dussumieri , P. layardi (= Arius tenuispinis ZBK ), P. nella and P. polystaphilodon were included. We added into the genus P. platystomus that share with the other species of Plicofollis ZBK a unique combination of characters considered apomorphic by Marceniuk (2003).

Two species entirely confined to the freshwaters of North and Central America were allocated in Potamarius ZBK , a genus originally described by Hubbs & Miller (1960). Its type-species was previously included in Conorhynchus ZBK of the family Pimelodidae (Meek, 1904; Regan 1907). Potamarius grandoculis was considered to belong in Hexanematichthys ZBK by Figueiredo & Menezes (1978) and in Arius ZBK by Burgess (1989), but its inclusion in Potamarius ZBK is in agreement with previous classifications proposed by Marceniuk & Ferraris (2003) and Marceniuk, (2005b).

Potamosilurus is herein created for the species occurring exclusively in freshwater in New Guinea. P. coatesi , P. latirostris , P. macrorhynchus and P. robertsi are found in south-draining rivers and P. velutinus in north-draining rivers of New Guinea. With exception of P. macrorhynchus , recognized as incertae sedis, the remaining species were included in Ariopsis ZBK by Kailola (2004).

Hexanematichthys ZBK , Sciadeichthys ZBK , Selenaspis ZBK , Ariopsis ZBK and Leptarius ZBK are synonyms of Sciades , but have been recently considered either valid or placed in the synonymy of genera other than Sciades (Roberts, 1989; Kailola, 1990a; Castro-Aguirre et al., 1999; Acero, 2003; Marceniuk & Ferraris, 2003; Betancur-R. et al., 2004; Kailola, 2004). In this study the species belonging to Ariopsis ZBK (Acero, 2003; Kailola, 2004, in part), Hexanematichthys ZBK and Selenaspis ZBK (Acero, 2003; Betancur-R. et al., 2004; Kailola, 2004) and Arius ZBK (Betancur-R. et al., 2004, in part) are all included in Sciades based on the possession of the following exclusive characters within the Ariidae : otic capsules little developed; space between transcapular process and otic capsule very wide; temporal fossa very reduced or entirely closed; subvertebral process indistinct or little differentiated. Sciades was considered valid by Castro-Aguirre et al. (1999), whereas Marceniuk & Ferraris (2003) recognized this genus as probably senior synonym of Hexanematichthys ZBK . Kailola (2004) recognized Sciades based exclusively on examination of the type-species, considered by her sister-species of Hemiarius hardenbergi , additionally adding into the genus S. couma , S. herzbergii ZBK , S. dowii , S. parkeri ZBK , S. passany , S. proops and Notarius troschelii .

  • Alexandre P. Marceniuk, Naércio A. Menezes (2007): Systematics of the family Ariidae (Ostariophysi, Siluriformes), with a redefinition of the genera. Zootaxa 1416, 1-126: 111-121, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:FFC65592-D8DB-41BE-AEAC-A41EAB6C6185
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Family Ariidae Bleeker, 1862

Arii Bleeker, 1862: 7, 25. Type genus: Arius ZBK Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1840b.

Hemipimelodinae Gill, 1861: 46. Type genus: Hemipimelodus ZBK Bleeker, 1858.

Batrachocephalinae Gill, 1893: 132. Type genus: Batrachocephalus ZBK Bleeker, 1846.

Doiichthyidae Weber, 1913: 532. Type genus: Doiichthys ZBK Weber, 1913.

Bagreidae Schultz, 1944: 182. Type genus: Bagre Oken, 1817.

Osteogeneiosinae Fowler, 1951: 3. Type genus: Osteogeneiosus ZBK Bleeker, 1846.

Vorhisiidae † Frizzell, 1965: 179. Type genus: Vorhisia † Frizzell, 1965.

Diagnosis. The family Ariidae can be distinguished from all other Siluriformes by the following characters: external posterior branch of lateral ethmoid columnar; a bony blade anteriorly connecting the nasal tubules; lateral ethmoid and frontal bones connected mesially and laterally delimiting a fontanel (fig. 1) (shared with Pangasiidae and Schilbeidae ); presence of three infraorbitals (fig. 2) (shared with Doradidae , Mochokidae and Pimelodidae ); lachrymal well developed (fig. 3); space between transcapular process and otic capsule small; otic capsules enlarged; wing process of parasphenoid present (shared with Bagridae and Schilbeidae ); subvertebral process well developed (fig. 4); anterior portion of second basibranchial expanded and very conspicuous (fig. 5); third pharyngobranchial boomerang shaped (fig. 6); anterior portion of proximal cartilage of fourth ceratobranchial narrow about one-half as wide as posterior portion; dorsal processes of pharyngeal tooth plates long (fig. 7); anterior and posterior nostrils close together (shared with Diplomystidae ).

Remarks. To be consistent with the results of the phylogenetic analysis reported by Marceniuk (2003) in order to accommodate all the names available without creating unnecessary nomenclatural conflicts, the following genera are recognized: Amissidens ZBK , Arius ZBK , Aspistor ZBK , Bagre , Batrachocephalus ZBK , Brustiarius ZBK , Cathorops , Cephalocassis ZBK , Cinetodus ZBK , Cochlefelis ZBK , Cryptarius ZBK , Doiichthys ZBK , Galeichthys ZBK , Genidens ZBK , Hemiarius ZBK , Ketengus ZBK , Nedystoma ZBK , Nemapteryx ZBK , Neoarius ZBK , Netuma , Notarius ZBK , Osteogeneiosus ZBK , Pachyula ZBK , Plicofollis ZBK , Potamarius ZBK and Sciades . Three new genera have to be erected: Amphiarius , Carlarius and Potamosilurus . The nominal genera Bagre Oken, 1817, Glanis ZBK , Stearopterus ZBK , Breviceps ZBK non Merrem, 1820, Felichthys ZBK , Ailurichthys ZBK , Mystus ZBK non Scopoli, 1777 and Anemanotus ZBK are junior synonyms of Bagre Cloquet, 1816. Hexanematichthys ZBK , Sciadeichthys ZBK , Selenaspis ZBK , Ariopsis ZBK and Leptarius ZBK are synonymous with Sciades . The nominal genus Pseudarius ZBK is an objective synonym and Arioides is subjective synonym of Arius ZBK . Sciadeops ZBK is synonymous with Notarius ZBK . Catastoma ZBK and Sarcogenys ZBK are synonymous with Netuma . Tetranesodon ZBK is tentatively recognized as synonym of Pachyula ZBK . Hemipimelodus ZBK is synonymous with Cephalocassis ZBK . Septobranchus ZBK is a junior synonym of Cinetodus ZBK . Guiritinga ZBK is a new synonym of Genidens ZBK .

The genus Doiichthys ZBK formerly considered the single representative of the family Doiichthyidae by Weber & de Beaufort (1913) and Berg (1940) and not examined either by Mo (1991) or de Pinna (1993), shares a series of synapomorphies with the other members of the Ariidae (Kailola, 1990a, 2004; Marceniuk, 2003) and is included in this family. The nominal genus Tachysurus ZBK ( Lacépède , 1803) as already noted by Regan (1907) cannot be recognized in the Ariidae contrary to the conclusion of Eigenmann & Eigenmann (1888), Miranda-Ribeiro (1918), Fowler (1928) and Chandy (1953) as emphasized by Wheeler & Baddokwaya (1981). Following Mo (1991) and de Pinna (1993), Ancharius ZBK is not considered a member of the Ariidae . It belongs in its own family Anchariidae (Ng & Sparks, 2005).

  • Alexandre P. Marceniuk, Naércio A. Menezes (2007): Systematics of the family Ariidae (Ostariophysi, Siluriformes), with a redefinition of the genera. Zootaxa 1416, 1-126: 7-7, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:FFC65592-D8DB-41BE-AEAC-A41EAB6C6185
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Description

Chiefly marine; occasionally freshwater. Distribution: tropical and subtropical waters. Forked caudal fin. Adipose fin present. Barbels usually 3 pairs. Nasal barbels absent. Bony plates present on head and near dorsal fin. A leading spine in both pectoral and dorsal fins.
  • MASDEA (1997).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:499Public Records:240
Specimens with Sequences:425Public Species:28
Specimens with Barcodes:411Public BINs:29
Species:53         
Species With Barcodes:45         
          
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Ariidae

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Wikipedia

Ariidae

The Ariidae or ariid catfish are a family of catfish that mainly live in marine waters with many freshwater and brackish water species. They are found worldwide in tropical to warm temperate zones.

Taxonomy[edit]

The relationships of this family are not yet clear. Two of the genera, Gogo and Ancharius, have been moved to a separate family called Anchariidae.[1] The Ariidae are divided into two subfamilies: Galeichthys is the only genus classified in the subfamily Galeichthyinae, while the rest of the genera are classified in the subfamily Ariinae.[2]

Previously, the Ariidae family has been grouped in the superfamily Doradoidea, but then it was moved into Bagroidea (along with Austroglanididae, Claroteidae, Schilbeidae, Pangasiidae, Bagridae, and Pimelodidae.[3] It has also been classified in a superfamily Arioidea containing Ariidae and Anchariidae.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Ariids are found worldwide in tropical to warm temperate zones.[3] Ariids are unusual among catfish in that they live primarily in the sea; the majority of catfish families are strictly freshwater and have little tolerance for brackish or marine conditions. Ariid catfish are found in shallow temperate and tropical seas around the coastlines of North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. They are absent from Europe and Antarctica.

Many species are also present in freshwater habitats; some species only occur in freshwater. In North and South America, about 43 species extend into brackish water or are found exclusively in fresh water.

Appearance and anatomy[edit]

Ariid catfish have a deeply forked caudal fin. Usually, three pairs of barbels are present. They possess some bony plates on their heads and near their dorsal fins.[3] At least some species have venomous spines in their dorsal and pectoral fins.[5]

Skull[edit]

The left image has Vitruvian Man superimposed where Jesus is said to be depicted in an ariid catfish skull, while the right image is simply the skull. In the upper left hand corner, the small black line provides a scale of 1 cm (0.39 in).

Ariid catfish have sometimes been called crucifix catfish because their skulls resemble a cruciform man. This is an example of pareidolia.[6]

Ecology[edit]

Beyond their maritime habitat, ariid catfish have a number of unique adaptations that set them apart from other catfish. Most, if not all species, are mouthbrooding fish, with the male carrying a small clutch of a few dozen, golf ball-sized eggs for about two months until the eggs hatch and the fry become free-swimming.[7][8]

Relationship to humans[edit]

One well-known ariid catfish is the hardhead catfish, Ariopsis felis, abundant along the Western Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Mexico. Although hardhead catfish reach a weight of about 5.5 kg (12 lb) and are good eating, they have a mixed reputation as game fish and are often considered nuisance bait stealers.[9]

A less-abundant species, more highly regarded as a game and food fish, is the gafftopsail catfish, Bagre marinus. The range of the gafftop extends further south, to Venezuela.

The smaller ariid catfishes have minor value as public and home aquarium fish. In 1972, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago received worldwide acclaim for the first successful breeding of Ariopsis felis in captivity, a feat they have repeated several times since. The Colombian shark catfish Sciades seemanni (until recently Hexanematichthys seemanni) is a fairly popular aquarium fish, though it has been traded under a variety of spurious names, such as Arius jordani and Arius seemani.[10] Less commonly traded aquarium species include Arius berneyi and Arius graeffei.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ng, Heok Hee; Sparks, John S. (2005). "Revision of the endemic Malagasy catfish family Anchariidae (Teleostei: Siluriformes), with descriptions of a new genus and three new species". Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters (PDF) 16 (4): 303–323. 
  2. ^ Acero P., Arturo; Betancur-R., Ricardo (June 2007). "Monophyly, affinities, and subfamilial clades of sea catfishes (Siluriformes: Ariidae)" (PDF). Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters 18 (2): 133–143. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  3. ^ a b c Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-25031-7. 
  4. ^ Sullivan, JP; Lundberg JG; Hardman M (2006). "A phylogenetic analysis of the major groups of catfishes (Teleostei: Siluriformes) using rag1 and rag2 nuclear gene sequences". Mol Phylogenet Evol. 41 (3): 636–62. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.044. PMID 16876440. 
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2007). "Bagre marinus" in FishBase. May 2007 version.
  6. ^ The Crucifix Catfish by Allan James
  7. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Ariidae" in FishBase. May 2007 version.
  8. ^ Ariopsis felis
  9. ^ Hardhead Catfish
  10. ^ Hexanematichthys seemanni
  11. ^ The catfish family Ariidae
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