The Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas)

Mekong Giant Catfish

The Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas), also known as Thailand Giant Catfish, is the largest freshwater catfish in the world. It is a species of catfish (order Siluriformes) in the shark catfish family (family Pangasiidae), native to the Mekong River basin in Thailand. It is the only species of genus Pangasianodon. Once plentiful in the grand Mekong river, the Mekong Giant Catfish population has decreased considerably in last few decades. Currently, this species is taken into consideration as critically endangered.

The color of the Mekong Giant Catfish is a light grey with silver on top. The bottom is a yellow or a white cream color. It is the only species of catfish that do not have any teeth, which are intriguing. The Barbels are present on the juveniles but as they grow older and become mature those will disappear. They have eyes that are very low set on the face.

The Mekong Giant Catfish is native to the middle as well as lower basin region of Mekong. Originally the catfish came with a natural range that reaches from the lower Mekong in Vietnam all the way to the northern reach of the river in the Yunnan province of China, spanning nearly the entire 4,800 kilometers length of the river.

Mekong Giant Catfish is nearly 10 feet (3.0 meters) in length and as large as a grizzly bear, the leviathan tipped the scales at 650 pounds (294 kilograms). Professionals say the fish, which belongs to the species called the Mekong Giant Catfish, might be the largest freshwater catfish previously recorded.

The Mekong Giant Catfish can also be seen sometimes in the Chao Phraya River and when feeding fish at the Bangkok temples along the river, the fish will be seen also. It is currently only found in the mainstream of the Lower Mekong in Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar. It used to be relatively common further north along the Thai to Lao PDR border, however, is now very uncommon in this area.  

The quality of the water in the Mekong basin has been decreased because of the development as well as upstream damming by China. Fishing has been banned in Cambodia, Laos, and  Thailand, however, the ban has assisted a little. But in Thailand, it is enabled fishing for private stocks of Mekong Giant Catfish. This assists in saving the species as lakes buying the fry from the government reproducing program, producing extra income that allows the reproducing program to function.


What Does The Mekong Giant Catfish Eat?
What Does The Mekong Giant Catfish Eat

In natural environment far from captivity, the Mekong Giant Catfish will usually feed on weeds, terrestrial plants, benthic algae, and insects. They would not usually prey on fish unless deprived of its natural food source.

As fry, this Mekong Giant Catfish will eat on various types of zooplankton in the river and is known to be cannibalistic. After approximately 1 years of age, they will become herbivorous and start to change their diet as well as consuming lots of filamentous algae, most likely ingesting larvae and periphyton accidentally.

The Mekong Giant Catfish also likely gets its food from algae grow attached to submerged rocky surfaces, as it does not have any type of teeth. They spend a lot of time-consuming food as they need amounts of it to fulfill their nutritional requirements.


The Reproduction Of Mekong Giant Catfish

The Reproduction Of Mekong Giant Catfish

There is little known about its reproductive behavior. As the rainy season starts the Mekong Giant Catfish will begin to spawn and move upstream. Only the bigger ones will be able to mate as size is what decide it, not their age. They growing very fast though and most of the time they are able to mate by the time they are 6 years of ages.



Top 10 Biggest Catfish In The World

The species of catfish are among the largest catfish of the freshwater river system. They are in the shark catfish family and with almost 3,000 known species, catfish (order Siluriformes) are among the most varied groups of vertebrates as well as distributed throughout the river basin of the world. I have a list put together of the Top 10 biggest catfish in the world.  

Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas)

Mekong Giant Catfish

Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) is the world’s largest species of catfish found in Mekong river basin in Southeast Asia. Currently, this species is taken into consideration as critically endangered and largest freshwater catfish in the world.

Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)

Blue Catfish

The Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is the largest species of catfish found in North America and in the Mississippi River. They are an opportunistic freshwater predator of river system but also found in some lakes in Florida.

The Blue Catfish can reach a length of 5.4 feet (165 cm) and a weight of 150 pounds (68 kg). The average length is about 2.1 – 3.8 feet (64 – 117 cm). The fish can live up to 20 years.

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

Channel Catfish

The Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is also known as channel cat in North America as well as the close relative of the blue catfish. This species of catfish is one of the largest fish found in Northern Virginia. The widely distributed channel catfish are found in throughout most rivers, streams, freshwater lakes, and ponds of the United States, northern Mexico, and southern Canada.

The Channel Catfish average weight in at 2 to 10 pounds (0.9 to 4.5 kg) but can reach up to 37 pounds (17 kg). On average, it measures 1.2 to 2.1 feet (38 to 64 cm) in length, but it can get over 3.3 feet (102 cm). A catfish’s average lifespan is about 15 to 20 years.

Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)

Flathead Catfish

The Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) is one of 3 primary species of catfish in freshwater of North American river. The flathead catfish is very distinct in appearance and native to lakes and rivers.

Flathead catfish reach a length of 3 to 4 feet (9.1 to 122 cm) and their weight can over 100 pounds (45 kg). The average lifespan of the flathead catfish is 12 to 14 years, however, one recorded flathead catfish can live up to 24 years.

Goonch Catfish (Bagarius Yarrelli)

Goonch Catfish

The Goonch Catfish (Bagarius Yarrelli), also known as Giant Devil Catfish, is a large predatory Catfish that found in India and other East Asian, Asian and Southeast Asian Countries.

The Goonch catfish is one of the largest species of catfish in the world. It is a bit larger than the red tail catfish. The world record specimen was 6.6 feet (201 cm) long and weighed 230 pounds (104 kg).

Piraiba Catfish (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum)

Piraiba Catfish

The Piraiba Catfish (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum) is the largest species of catfish found in Amazon river basin and a real giant Amazon river monster. The Piraiba catfish found in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of South America.

The largest world record IGFA Piraiba Catfish caught weighed 341 lbs (155 kg) and was caught by Jorge Masullo de Aguiar on the Rio Solimosin in Brazil. Others claim that this Piraiba catfish can reach up to 550 lbs ( 250 kg) and as long as 12 feet (366 cm).

Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)

Redtail Catfish

The Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) is second largest species of catfish, also known as one of the large catfish of the aquatic world. They also are known as pirarara has a colorful orange-red large tail with yellow sides.

The Red Tail Catfish have a wide distribution in South America as well as occur throughout much of the Amazon and Rio Orinoco basins. They are found in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana, Columbia, and Brazil.

The Red Tail Catfish can reach up to 4 feet (48 inches) in the home aquarium, and they grow even bigger in nature. The biggest recorded Red Tail Catfish was 123 lbs 7 oz. (56 kg), and 5 feet (60 inches) in length. They can live up to 20 years in captivity, however, their lifespan is usually much shorter since they are seldom given the conditions should keep them healthy.

Jau Catfish (Zungaro zungaro)

Jau Catfish

The Jau catfish (Zungaro Zungaro) or Gilded catfish is the second largest catfish in the Amazon Basin of South America after the Lau Lau or Piraiba catfish. Most likely known is the Redtail catfish, but the largest of them all is the Piraiba catfish, which can grow to over 500 pounds (227 kg).

The Jau Catfish and the Redtail Catfish both can grow very big sizes but I think the Jau catfish can get bigger, so it inches out the Red Tail Catfish for the number two spot on the Monster Catfish of the Amazon list. They typically are around 70 – 90 lbs (32 – 41 kg), but very large specimen have to reach up to 200 lbs (91 kg), and 5 feet (160 cm) in length.

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum)

Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

The Tiger Shovelnose Catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) is one of the largest species of South American catfish, found in the Amazon and Orinoco basins. It is native to deeper parts of large rivers and large predatory catfish.

An adult Tiger Shovelnose catfish will usually reach up to 3.3 feet (100 cm) in length or more in the wild and weight 125 lbs. When kept in aquariums, it will typically stay around 2 feet (60 cm). Covering 3 large subspecies (Pseudoplatystoma corruscans – Spotted Shovelnose Catfish) (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum & Pseudoplatystoma tigrinum – Tiger Shovelnose Catfish is the common name for both of these)

Wels Catfish (Silurus glanis)

Wels Catfish

The Wels Catfish (Silurus glanis), also known as sheatfish, is second large species of catfish, found in the basins of the Caspian Sea in eastern Europe. It is the largest true freshwater fish in Europe.  

The Wels Catfish can grow up to 13 feet (396 cm) long and weight (660 lbs) 300 kg but common lengths are 10 feet (300 cm). It is also one of the largest freshwater fish in the world with catches reported into the 600 lbs range. The average lifespan of catfish is 15 to 20 years, but one recorded Wels Catfish lived 80 years. Giant CatfishUnderwater AnimalsMekong Giant Catfish,The Reproduction Of Mekong Giant Catfish,Top 10 Biggest Catfish In The World,What Does The Mekong Giant Catfish Eat?The Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) The Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas), also known as Thailand Giant Catfish, is the largest freshwater catfish in the world. It is a species of catfish (order Siluriformes) in the shark catfish family (family Pangasiidae), native to the Mekong River basin in Thailand....It's all about things you do not know about monkey, eagles, guinea pig, puppies and many more.