Reaching weights of over 650 pounds (295 kilograms), the Mekong giant catfish is appropriately named.
Coloration is gray-white
Teeth, barbels and scales are absent
Head is broad
Gains weight quickly and has been known to reach over 770 pounds (350 kilograms)
Native to the lower half of the Mekong River basin, the population has declined 95% in the last century due to overfishing and habitat destruction. Don’t let their large size fool you though, these giants are sensitive to negative changes in water quality, making them an important indicator to the overall health of the Mekong River.
Very little is known about the habitat requirements or even the average size of the Mekong giant catfish. We do know that one fish can produce over 1 million eggs in a single spawning season, and it is believed that they are a long-lived species, reaching 60 years of age. We also know this fish is respected by locals living along the shore. Stories of ceremonies being held in honor of the Mekong giant catfish can be found in literature across centuries.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed Mekong giant catfish population as Critically Endangered due to a number of ongoing threats, including habitat loss and poor water quality. Critically Endangered populations are considered to be in a particularly and extremely critical state.
7.25 feet (2.2 meters)
Detritus and algae on the bottom
Mekong River basin