Redtail Catfish

Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus), known as pirarara in Brazil, is a species of longwhiskered catfishes (Pimelodidae). Although in the wild this coloful omnivorous species can reach 1.3 meter in length it is still popular with aquarists and enjoys a dedicated following partly because this intelligent fish soon comes to recognize its owner sufficiently to feed from the hand. This freshwater fish originates from the tropical waters of Africa, Asia and northern parts of South America. It has a remarkably large head and long barbs around the mouth. The species feeds on fish, crabs and fruits. It is introduced but not established in Florida. They have highly developed swimbladders to make loud humming and drumming noises. Due to the potential large size of this species, redtail catfish are considered a game fish by anglers.

Redtail Catfish Phractocephalus hemioliopterus
Redtail Catfish Phractocephalus hemioliopterus
Photo by Larysa Johnston


  1. Encyclopedia of Aquarium & Pond Fish. David Alderton
  2. Phractocephalus hemioliopterus

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