Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

External Links



Compiler and date details

2 July 2013 - Dianne J. Bray, Ursula E. Smith, John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates and Douglass F. Hoese

20 December 2006 - Douglass F. Hoese


The order Siluriformes currrently comprises up to 38 families of catfishes. Authors differ as to the actual number of families. Nelson (2006) listed 34 familes, whereas Eschmeyer & Fong (2013) lists 38 families. It is one of the largest orders of fishes, with 5735 valid species (Eschmeyer & Fong 2013), including more than 1100 species described during the past 10 years (2004-2013), many as part of the All Catfish Species Project. More than half the species occur in South America. With the exception of the two families found in Australian waters, most families are restricted to fresh water. Burgess (1989) summarised the considerable information available for the group. The classification and relationships within the group have not been fully resolved, and there is disagreement on the family status of some groups and the family placement of some genera (Lundberg & Friel 2003; Nelson 2006; Wiley & Johnson 2010). Fink & Fink (1996) discussed relationships, providing support for their classification, followed by Wiley and Johnson (2010). Ferraris (2007) provided a checklist of recent and fossil catfishes. Teugels (2003) and Diogo & Peng (2010) reviewed the state of siluriform systematics, and Sullivan et al/ (2007) provided a phylogenetic analysis of major siluriform groups.

Two catfish families inhabit Australian waters: the Ariidae and Plotosidae. Ariids have been recently revised by Marceniuk & Menezes (2007), Acero P.A & Betancur-R (2007), Betancur-R et al. (2007) and Marceniuk et al. (2012). Plotosids are yet to be revised


General References

Acero P.A & Betancur-R, R. 2007. Monophyly, affinities, and subfamilial clades of the sea catfishes (Siluriformes: Ariidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 18: 133-143

Betancur-R., R., Acero, A., Bermingham, P.E. & Cooke, R. 2007. Systematics and biogeography of New World sea catfishes (Siluriformes: Ariidae) as inferred from mitochondrial, nuclear, and morphological evidence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45: 339-357

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.

Diogo, R. & Peng, Z. 2010. Chapter 12. State of the Art of Siluriform Higher-level Phylogeny. pp. 465–515 in T. Grande, Poyato-Ariza, F.J. & R. Diogo (eds.). Gonorynchiformes and Ostariophysan Relationships: A Comprehensive Review. Enfield, NH, U.S.A. : Science Publishers 600 pp. [Date published 1 January 2010]

Eschmeyer, W.N. & Fong, J.D. 2013. Species of Fishes by family/subfamily. Catalog of Fishes. Online version updated 2 July 2013.

Ferraris, C.J. 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418: 1–628 [Date published 8 March 2007]

Fink, S.V. & Fink, W.L. 1996. Interrelationships of ostariophysan fishes (Teleostei). pp. 209-249 in Stiassny, M.L.J., Parenti, L.R. & Johnson, G.D. (eds). Interrelationships of Fishes. San Diego : Academic Press 496 pp.

Lundberg, J.G. & J.P. Friel 2003. Siluriformes. Catfishes. Version 20 January 2003 (under construction). in The Tree of Life Web Project,

Marceniuk, A.P., Menezes, N.A. & Britto, M.R. 2012. Phylogenetic analysis of the family Ariidae (Ostariophysi: Siluriformes), with a hypothesis on the monophyly and relationships of genera. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 165: 534-669

Marceniuk, A.P. & Menezes, N.A. 2007. Systematics of the family Ariidae (Ostariophysi, Siluriformes), with a redefinition of the genera. Zootaxa 1416: 1-126 [Date published 8 March 2007]

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp. [162]

Sullivan, J.P., Lundberg, J.G. & Hardman, M. 2006. A phylogenetic analysis of the major groups of catfishes (Teleostei: Siluriformes) using rag1 and rag2 nuclear gene sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41(3): 636–662

Teugels, G.G. 2003. State of the art of Recent siluriform systematics. pp. 317– 352 in Arratia G., Kapoor B.G., Diogo R. & Chardon M. (eds.). Catfishes. Sciences Publisher, Inc., Enfield, New Hampshire, USA. Two Volumes. 487 pp.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
12-Sep-2013 SILURIFORMES 09-Sep-2013 MODIFIED Dr Dianne Bray (NMV)
12-Feb-2010 (import)