Freshwater Catfish

Dewfish, Kenaru, Catfish
Scientific Name: Tandanus tandanus


The Freshwater Catfish gets its name from the 'whiskers' on its snout, called barbels. Its scientific name comes from the aboriginal word Tandan. They have a tail like an eel and no scales on their body.

The Freshwater Catfish has a short first dorsal fin and an eel-like tail. The second dorsal fin originates above the middle of the body. The first dorsal fin and pectoral fins are each preceded by a sharp serrated spine. The down-turned mouth is surrounded by four pairs of barbels. There are no scales.


The Freshwater Catfish grows to 90cm in length but is more commonly seen up to 45cm. It weighs up to 7kg.


Their mouth is down-turned because they feed on the bottom of lakes and stream beds, eating insect larvae, prawns, yabbies, crayfish, molluscs and small fishes.P


This fish is brown to olive green, reddish or even purplish above, and pale below. Juveniles have dark brown to black mottling.

Location or Region Found

This species is endemic to (only known from) Australia. It occurs throughout much of the Murray-Darling River drainage and in coastal drainages from northern Queensland to central New South Wales.

Other Types of Catfish