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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Shipwreck Exhibit (Tropical Diver)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Indo-Pacific from East Africa to South Korea, Japan and Australia. Occasionally in the fresh waters of Lake Malawi and Madagascar.
  • Found in coral reefs, estuaries, tide pools and open coasts at depths to 197 feet (60 m). Adult may spend its days hidden under ledges.

Physical Characteristics

  • Body is elongated with bands of black and gray separated by thinner bands of white extending from front to back.
  • Wide, flat mouth with whisker-like appendages (known as barbels) protruding from mouth’s underside.
  • Highly venomous spine on its first dorsal fin and each of its pectoral fins.
  • Maximum length of 12.6 inches (32.0 cm). Common length of 9.8 inches (25.0 cm).

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of crustaceans, mollusks, worms and fish.
  • Feeds by stirring sand with barbels and wide mouth. 

Reproduction / Growth

  • Maximum estimated lifespan is seven years.
  • An oviparous, or egg-laying, species; distributes eggs demersally (in the part of the water column just above the floor). Larvae are planktonic.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • The only catfish known to appear in coral reefs.
  • Adult is solitary, occasionally appearing in small groups of about twenty.
  • Juvenile forms schools of about 100 individuals forming a spherical shape.
  • Also known as the coral catfish.