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Hello Sir/Madam! Have you had any difficulties finding the differences between male and female catfish? At first glance, the difference is not very visible. However, male and female catfish have significant differences when viewed carefully, especially from a physical perspective.

Before you read an explanation of the differences between male and female catfish, find out the general physical characteristics of catfish first in this article!

Physical Characteristics of Catfish

Catfish or Clarias sp. are fish that do not have scales. The body of the catfish is protected by smooth and slimy skin. With an elongated body shape, catfish also have elongated dorsal and anal fins.

To make it easier for them to move in dark water, the catfish's body is equipped with 4 tactile antennae or barbels. These four tactile antennae are also useful as detection devices to find food sources in the dark and protect them from attack. The presence of tactile antennae is very important for catfish because catfish are nocturnal fish that are active at night.

How to Distinguish Male and Female Catfish

Both male and female catfish have 4 tactile antennae, smooth skin, and an elongated body. So, what distinguishes the two in terms of physical and behavior? Come on, read the explanation below!

1. Differences in Skin Color

Female Catfish Skin

Female catfish have a reddish brown body color that is brighter than the male catfish. Inversely proportional to the color of the body, the color of the female catfish's dorsal fin tends to be darker. In addition, what can be used as a reference to distinguish male catfish and female catfish in terms of skin is the level of smoothness. If touched, the female catfish skin will feel smoother than the male catfish.

Skin of Male Catfish

If the female catfish has a reddish brown skin color that is brighter, the male catfish has a skin color that tends to be darker. Even though it has a darker body color, the male catfish has a lighter dorsal fin color with rough textured skin. Adult male catfish will have small spots on the dorsal fin area. The appearance of spots that will not occur in adult female catfish can be used as a reference for determining the sex of catfish.

2. Differences in Body Shape

Body shape of female catfish

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Source: arena Animals.com

Most female catfish have a larger and fuller body shape with a distended and flabby belly. The female catfish's stomach is wider because it is used to accommodate the eggs which will later become catfish seeds. Differences in body shape between male and female catfish can also be seen from the shape of the head. Female catfish will have a larger head shape than male catfish. The size of the dorsal fin also affects the sex of the catfish. Female catfish will have a shorter dorsal fin size than male catfish.

Body shape of male catfish

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Source: eFishery Documentation

Male catfish have a slimmer body than female catfish. The size of the head is also smaller and looks a bit flattened and short. Male catfish can be identified by their elongated body shape with a rubbery stomach texture. In addition, male catfish have a muzzle that tends to be sharper and longer. You can also distinguish between male and female catfish by the size of their dorsal fin because male catfish have a longer dorsal fin than female catfish.

However, body shape and head shape are relative so difficult to be a determining factor for the sex of catfish. For this reason, you are advised to use a few catfish as a comparison.

3. Movement Differences

Female Catfish Movement

Due to their fatter body shape and tend to be filled, female catfish move more slowly so they are easy to catch. However, this cannot be used as the main determinant in determining which are male and female catfish. Some female catfish also have agile and agile movements like male catfish. It takes a lot of experience to be able to determine the sex of a catfish by just looking at the way it moves.

Male Catfish Movement

With a slim and long body, male catfish movements will be more agile and agile than female catfish. Apart from being more agile, male catfish also appear to be more aggressive than female catfish which tend to be more passive. To distinguish the sex of catfish from their agility, you can put a female catfish and several adult male catfish in one container. The male catfish will fight over the female by themselves.

4. Differences in the shape of the genitals

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Source: tanipedia.co.id

Female Catfish Genitals

After knowing the difference between female catfish and body shape, can you determine which is male and female catfish if you look at the picture above? In the picture above, the female catfish is located below while the male catfish is located above. 

In the picture it is clear that the female catfish has a wide belly. In addition, the differences are seen more clearly from the shape of the genitals that each catfish has. Female catfish have genitals that are round, have wide holes, and are red in color.

Genitals of Male Catfish

In the picture above, the sex shape of the male catfish is very clear and different from the female catfish. Male catfish genitals are pointed and reddish in color. This reddish color indicates that the catfish are ready to mate. In male catfish, the genitals are located below the anus and are elongated towards the back.

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