Mekong Giant Catfish

The Mekong giant catfish is the largest purely freshwater fish in the world
Mekong Giant Catfish Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Pangasianodon gigas
Mekong Giant Catfish Physical Characteristics
Grey, White
A few hundred
60 years
Up to 646 lbs, possibly more
Mekong Giant Catfish Distribition

The Mekong giant catfish is the biggest simply fresh water fish on the planet

The Mekong giant catfish is commonly considered the biggest simply fresh water fish on the planet (omitting the species that move in between deep sea and freshwater like the sturgeon). With their substantial mouths and reduced- established eyes, these huge shark catfish trawl the waters of the magnificent Mekong, feeding upon substantial amounts of plant issue each day.

Regrettably, as a result of years of exploitation and overlook, this species is currently a depressing suggestion of the requirement for even more lasting angling methods and growth. There is still a great deal we do not comprehend regarding this species, and it might end up being extinct prior to we can discover more.

3 Extraordinary Mekong Giant Catfish Truths!

  • Old pictures of the Mekong giant catfish line the wall surfaces of Buddhist holy places in Thailand. Unique routines and offerings were made prior to individuals fished it.
  • The Mekong giant catfish does not have ranges of any kind of kind. Its skin is totally bare.
  • Based upon hereditary evaluation, researchers currently think that the shark catfish family (of which the Mekong giant catfish is a participant) most likely initially advanced some 40 million years earlier. They seem very closely pertaining to various other Oriental catfish. It is not specifically understood when the Mekong giant catfish initially advanced however.

Classification and Scientific Name

The scientific name of the Mekong giant catfish is Pangasianodon gigas It’s not completely clear where the genus name Pangasianodon originates from. It might be a mix of Pangasius, a neighborhood word for the shark catfish, and a Greek term definition without tooth (describing its toothless mouth). The species name gigas merely implies giant in Greek. The only various other living participant of the genus is the rainbowlike shark catfish. Both species come from the family of Pangasiidae, or the shark catfish, which are native to southerly Asia.

Mekong Giant Catfish Appearance

The Mekong giant catfish is believed to be the biggest freshwater fish on the planet. One sampling was recorded to be around 10 feet long and some 646 extra pounds in weight, yet it’s been recommended that they can expand also bigger than this. Including a round, blunt head and a lengthy body, the Mekong giant catfish has a plain grey or white appearance, normally darker on the top fifty percent. An additional differentiating attribute is the reduced- established eyes, which really show up listed below the mouth line.

Unlike various other sorts of catfish, the grownups of this species do not have hairs (likewise called weights) or teeth of any kind of kind, possibly therefore their vegetarian diet. The juveniles are birthed with hairs (which aid them discover food in the undersea atmosphere), yet they gradually reduce with age.

Mekong Giant Catfish Swimming
Mekong Giant Catfish Swimmingtristan tan/Shutterstock. com

Distribution, Population, and Environment

The Mekong giant catfish is native to the reduced Mekong River of Southeastern Asia. It was again prevalent throughout the whole river system, possibly getting to as for China, yet population numbers have actually dropped by around 90% considering that the 20th century.

It’s believed that just a few hundred people might be staying; this is based upon the variety of fish captured instead of a real population price quote. The perpetrators for its decrease seem framework growth, overfishing, air pollution, and mineral drainage, and dam building and construction, which diverts its all-natural spawning course. Environments are likewise breaking up, that makes it harder for the fish to gather with each other in the generating period.

The Mekong giant catfish is presently identified as a seriously endangered species by the IUCN Red Checklist. Guardians have actually attempted to reproduce this fish in man-made fish ponds as a last- ditch initiative to conserve the whole species, yet up until now all initiatives to present them back right into the wild have actually consulted with failing.

Predators and Victim

The Mekong giant catfish inhabits an uncommon location in the freshwater food cycle. Regardless of being huge and challenging, this species reveals no aggressive habits in any way. They are sort of like any kind of huge vegetarian animal, not to be tinkered by possibility predators.

What consumes the Mekong giant catfish?

Therefore its dimension, the Mekong giant catfish has extremely couple of all-natural predators in the wild besides humans.

What does the Mekong giant catfish eat?

Grownup giant catfish mostly prey on plants and algae. The adolescent feeds upon small animals drifting in the water.

Reproduction and Life Expectancy

The Mekong giant catfish is a migratory species. At the start of the stormy period, they will certainly take a trip upstream to get to the generating areas from their childhood years. Researchers think that the species as soon as had a much bigger migratory array, relying on their area. Today minority staying samplings relocate in between the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia and the component of the Mekong River in Thailand.

Upon hatching, the young fish prey on little zooplankton (small water- based animals), and if food is limited, they will certainly in some cases also cannibalize each various other. After a year, they will certainly switch over to their grown-up vegetarian diet and begin consuming plants.

These are amongst the fastest- expanding fish on the planet, getting to greater than 400 extra pounds in 6 years. It’s approximated they have an overall life expectancy of around 60 years in the wild. There is probably a great deal of attrition in the very first couple of days and weeks after hatching out, so just a handful of fish ever before get to complete their adult years.

Angling and Food Preparation

This animal has actually been gathered by regional fishers in the area for lots of hundreds of years. At the elevation of the overfishing fad, countless loads can be captured yearly. Therefore the dropping numbers, it is currently unlawful to capture this fish in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Enforcement can be erratic, nonetheless, and the policies do not always quit poachers from eliminating them and offering them to Vietnamese dining establishments.


  1. World Wildlife Federation, Available here:
  2. National Geographic, Available here:

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