Asian River Catfish – Hemibagrus Nemurus – Thai Fish Species

Species: Hemibagrus nemurus.

Common name: River Catfish, Asian River Catfish, Green Catfish. Thai Name: Pla Kot Luang.

Distribution: Found in Thailand, Sumatra, Java and Borneo.

Habitat: Adapted to the warm waters of Southeast Asia, where tropical and subtropical climates prevail. Its habitat preferences can vary, but generally, it inhabits quieter sections of river systems, lakes, reservoirs and other slow-moving or standing water bodies. Areas with sandy or muddy substrates where they can search for food by sifting through the sediment. As well areas with submerged structures like rocks, logs, and vegetation where they can find shelter and ambush prey.

Asian River Catfish - Thai Fish SpeciesAsian River catfish (Hemibagrus nemerus)

Is a freshwater fish species in the bagrid catfish family (family Bagridae) of the order Siluriformes (catfish). Members of this genus have depressed heads, rugose head shields, without skin. A slender occipital process (tapered head) and moderately long adipose fins. This means they are easily distinguished from other Bagrids. Which have a flat head, relatively short adipose fin, and filamentous extensions to the dorsal- and caudal-fin rays. The body color is brown often with a greenish sheen back with dark brown spots, white sides and a silvery belly. A deeply forked tail with a red tint, flat wide head with long whiskers.

Lifespan and Size

In the wild, their lifespan generally ranges from 6 to 10 years, though this can be influenced by factors such as predation, habitat conditions, and availability of food sources. Have a max weight around 2.00 kg (4,4lbs) with a length of 65 cm. In captivity, with proper care, catfish species can often have longer lifespans. Some individuals have been reported to live up to 15 years or more under optimal conditions.

Asian River Catfish Diet

The diet of the Asian River Catfish consists of a variety of foods, both plant and animal matter. As they grow and mature, their dietary preferences might change, and their feeding habits can vary based on factors such as their environment and availability of food sources. They are primarily carnivorous, meaning their diet is largely composed of animal matter. Adults are known to consume small fish, particularly in the form of smaller fish species. They might also feed on crustaceans such as shrimp and crayfish if these are available in their environment. Aquatic insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates found in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. Amphibians such as frogs or tadpoles. Their diet can also include other small prey items found in their habitat, such as worms and small aquatic organisms.


Breeding behavior and information about Asian River Catfish in the wild are not as extensively documented as those of some other fish species. However, catfish species, are known to be egg-layers, meaning they lay eggs that are fertilized externally by the male. Catfish often exhibit breeding behaviors during specific seasons when environmental conditions are favorable, such as changes in water temperature or rainy periods.

Female Catfish choose suitable nesting sites where they deposit their eggs. These sites could be hidden areas among submerged vegetation, rocks, or other structures. The female releases her eggs, and the male follows closely, fertilizing the eggs with his sperm. The eggs are left at the nesting site, the eggs then undergo a period of development, which can vary in duration based on environmental factors like water temperature. After the eggs hatch, the fry (young fish) emerge. Eggs and fry are left to fend for themselves, as catfish species generally do not exhibit parental care beyond the initial fertilization.


Gender determination of Asian River Catfish can be challenging in juvenile and sub-adult stages as the sexual differences are not apparent until the fish reach maturity. During breeding season, males display more territorial and aggressive behaviors as they compete for females. Observing these behaviors can provide some insights into the potential sex of the fish. In mature females, a small genital papilla can be seen near the vent (an opening near the anal fin) as a small, rounded protrusion. In mature males, the genital papilla appears more pointed and elongated.

Asian river Catfish Fishing method

The Species is often targeted by anglers in various parts of Southeast Asia for sport fishing. They are often more active during the night, making night fishing a popular choice. They are known to be a bottom-dwelling species. So, bait fishing on the bottom is a common method to catch Asian River Catfish. Using natural baits such as live or cut fish, worms, shrimp, or other aquatic creatures that mimic their natural prey are all used. Chumming small amounts of bait into the water to attract fish to the fishing area. This method can be particularly effective when fishing in rivers or other flowing water bodies. Lure fishing with diving lures, like soft plastics, crankbaits, and jigs can mimic the catfish’s prey, can also be very effective.

Source: WikipediaFishbase

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