Catfish, Striped (Pangasianodon Hypophthalmus)
The Striped Catfish is member of the Pangasiidae (shark catfishes) family of fish and is native to Southern Asia being found in the Mekong and Chaophraya basins in Thailand. The migratory Striped Catfish is believed to travel throughout the Mekong river system through Cambodia and sometimes even reaching Vietnam.
The Striped Catfish feeds on a wide and varied diet of small fish, crustaceans and vegetable debris in its natural habitat of the Mekong River basin.
The Striped or Sawai catfish has a muscular shark-like appearance with a broad head with slightly under slung eyes and a wide bony mouth combined with a sleek streamlined body shape and reddish to pink coloured fins.
The fish has a silver/ grey colouration throughout its smooth and muscular scale-less body and in some cases displays oil –like shades of blue/ purple on its flanks.
The Striped Catfish is closely related to the Mekong Catfish and shares a great deal of similarities in appearance. This Thai catfish is regularly misidentified as being a small Mekong Catfish due to the extremely close resemblance with its larger Megafish cousin and can be distinguished by its slightly more robust body shape.
Striped Catfish are classed as vulnerable in their natural habitat of Thailand’s rivers and are currently subject to a restocking program by the government of Thailand with an aim to reestablishing populations of this fish onto Thai rivers.
Although classed as vulnerable in its wild habitat the Striped Catfish is one of the most common monster fish species to be found in the fishing lakes and ponds of Thailand where it caught regularly on cereal groundbaits and various other baits.