Striped Wallago Catfish (Wallago leerii): Interesting Facts

Striped Wallago Catfish Featured Image

Striped Wallago Catfish, also known as Great Tapah or Helicopter Catfish, is a type of catfish found in Southeast Asia.

It lives in rivers from Thailand to Indonesia, including Sumatra and Borneo. This fish is pretty large and weigh as much as 330 pounds.

People have eaten it for centuries, but overfishing and damming have caused its population to drop significantly.

In 2014, research confirmed that this fish belongs to the Wallagonia genus, not the Wallago genus.

There are two other species in the Wallagonia genus: Lesser tapah from the Mekong River basin and Spotted tapah from Borneo’s Kinabatangan River basin.

Although they look slightly different in color, some think they might be subspecies of the striped wallago catfish.

Adult striped wallago catfish lives in large streams and rivers while young ones stay near small stream mouths with muddy bottoms and overhanging plants.

It feeds on prawns and lay eggs like other fish in their family.

Fishermen used to see large groups of these fish migrating together but now see fewer because of intensive netting practices.

People usually eat them fresh, or it’s processed as salted fish.

You can check out what this fish looks like over here.

Striped Wallago Catfish Interesting Facts

  • Striped wallago catfish grow up to 59.1 inches (150 centimeters) long and weigh 330 pounds.
  • Found in Southeast Asia, its population has dropped due to overfishing and damming.
  • Belongs to the Wallagonia genus, with two other related species from Mekong and Kinabatangan river basins.
  • Thrives in tropical climates near river bottoms between 10°N to 8°S latitude.

Striped Wallago Catfish Habitat

Striped wallago catfish is found in Asia, specifically from Thailand to Indonesia.

Some people mistakenly identify it as Wallago micropogon in the Mekong River basin.

It lives in freshwater environments near the bottom (demersal) and migrates within rivers (potamodromous).

This fish thrives in tropical climates between 10°N to 8°S latitude.

Water Temperature:Unknown
Water pH:Unknown
Water Hardness:Unknown

Striped Wallago Catfish Physical Characteristics

Size: 59.1 inches (150 centimeters)

Striped wallago catfish grow up to 59.1 inches (150 centimeters) in length and weigh as much as 86 kg.

It has one dorsal spine and 4 dorsal soft rays, along with 60 to 75 anal soft rays.

A unique feature of this fish is its jet-black pectoral-fin membranes, which sets it apart from other similar species.

This catfish also has around 15 to 18 branchiostegal rays, and its mouth reaches only the front edge of its eye.

Striped Wallago Catfish Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Wallago leerii
Also Known As:Striped Wallago Catfish, Great Tapah, Helicopter Catfish
Conservation Status:Endangered

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