Horabagrus is a small genus of catfishes (order Siluriformes). It comprises two species, H. brachysoma and H. nigricollaris. H. brachysoma is an important food fish, and both species are available as aquarium fish.
is known as "Günther's catfish" or "yellow catfish". It is also known as manjakoori
in its native range. It is also known by a host of other names, such as "bullseye catfish", "golden red tail catfish", "solar catfish", and "sun catfish". H. nigricollaris
is known as the "Black Collared Catfish".
was described by Albert C. L. G. Günther
in 1864 under the name Pseudobagrus brachysoma
. Horabagrus nigricollaris
was described by Pethiyagoda and Kottelat in 1994.
The genus Horabagrus is usually classified under the family Bagridae, but there are disagreements. The genus name is after the Indian zoologist Sunder Lal Hora. Though listed under Bagridae, Horabagrus is not listed under either of the two Bagrid subfamilies by the All Catfish Species Inventory. In Nelson (2006), the genus is provisionally placed in the family Schilbeidae, where it is sometimes recognized as its own subfamily. In de Pinna (1998), this genus is classified as sister to the catfishes Pangasiidae and above, which would require a separate family. This genus has also been classified in its own family "Horabagridae". In a 2007 paper, Horabagrus was not classified under any current catfish families.
These two species have a relatively restricted range. They are both restricted to India
. H. brachysoma
is known only from the Kerala Backwaters
, Vembanad Lake
and the Uttara Kannada
district of Karnataka
. H. nigricollaris
is only found in the Chalakudy River
in Kerala, India. H. brachysoma
is found in smooth flowing areas with much vegetation.
Appearance and anatomy
has a large head and a wide mouth. The eyes are large and can be seen from below the fish. There is a dorsal fin
with a hard spine
as well as an adipose fin
. There are four pairs of barbels
, one nasal, one maxillary (sides of the mouth), and two mandibular (chin). H. nigricollaris
is sleeker in body shape than H. brachysoma
. H. brachysoma
reaches about 45 centimetres
). H. nigricollaris
reaches about 27 cm (11 in). These two species are quite similar in appearance. H. brachysoma
hosts a large black shoulder spot on either side with light outlines. However, in H. nigricollaris
the marking extends over the neck, forming a "black collar" (hence the scientific name). H. brachysoma
also has a more yellowish body than H. nigricollaris
Habitat and ecology
is found in smooth flowing areas with much vegetation. This species occupies lowland areas of rivers and backwaters with mud or sand substrate. It has also been recorded in deep pools and hill streams. H. nigricollaris
inhabits hill streams at upper reaches of rivers.
The diet of H. brachysoma has been studied. It is an unspecialized feeder and eats a variety of meaty foods. Food items include crustaceans, molluscs, and fish. Adults may consume terrestrial insects and even frogs. Stomachs of these fish contain detritus which is indicative of its bottom-feeding habits. This flexible diet is beneficial in its variable habitat, in which food availality is affected by monsoons. Feeding rate is known to increase during the breeding season in the months following the monsoon season. Spawning occurs before the monsoons and finishes by the southwest monsoon in the summer.
In the aquarium
is a common fish in the aquarium
trade. H. nigricollaris
is more seldomly seen because it is not commercially farmed like the former. Nevertheless, the care for these two species is similar. These fish are said to have a lot of "personality". These fish are adaptable and are not picky about water conditions; also, they are hardy and easy to feed. However, these fish are light-shy and require plants or decorations to hide underneath for darkness; these fish are relatively secretive during the day.
Neither species is listed on the IUCN Red List
. However, H. brachysoma
is considered to be an endangered species
and H. nigricollaris
is considered a critically endangered species
. H. brachysoma
is marketed live and supports a local fishery
during the rainy season. Overexploitation
, habitat alteration
and related anthropogenic pressures on their natural habitats have considerably reduced populations of this species by 60–70% during the last few years. Research is currently being funded to study H. brachysoma
, especially its captive breeding. Due to the importance of H. brachysoma
as a food and ornamental fish, it embodies the problems that must be resolved for sustainable management, and could be used as a flagship species
to provide focus for media attention for conservation.