When handling forktailed catfish beware of the venomous serrated spines on their dorsal and pectoral fins that may inflict a very painful wound.
This species has a strong skull and can be tolerant of air exposure. To improve their eating qualities they can be humanely killed by a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding. Iki jime can be attempted if the angler has access to a suitably robust iki jime spike.
- A brownish/grey catfish, often with a bluish tinge, with a strongly forked tail, flattened rounded snout and a relatively small eye. This species may occasionally have irregular blotches along the flanks.
- Forktailed catfish are encountered throughout the northern half of Australia from the Ashburton River and the Houtman Abrolhos islands, Western Australia, to the Hunter River, New South Wales. The species is also found along the southern coast of New Guinea.
- This species occur in a variety of habitats from freshwater creeks to estuaries and inshore coastal marine environments.
- Forktailed catfish are a hardy species which can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures (11°C-38°C). They are omnivorous and feed on aquatic insects, plants, molluscs, crustaceans, smaller fishes and bottom detritus.
- Unlike all other mouth brooding catfish species, forktailed catfish nest and deposit their eggs on gravel surfaces, over a prolonged spawning season lasting over the summer months.
Fish Size Common Length:
25-50 cm (10-20 inches), maximum size around 80 cm (24 inches) and 12 kg (25 lb).