Long-Barbeled Sea Catfish, Red Catfish
Bagre Barbón
(Bagre pinnimaculatus)

Long-Barbeled Sea Catfish, Bagre pinnimaculatus: The Long-Barbeled Sea Catfish has an overall silvery appearance being steel blue to nearly black on the back, silvery white with a pink cast on the sides, a white belly, and pale fins.

They are identified by their two pairs of barbels, the upper of which is broad, ribbon like, which can reach to the middle of the pelvic fin. The lower one is long and thin and can reach the anal fin.

They have a dorsal spine with a very elongated filament. They have a deeply forked caudal fin.

Due to the long barbels they cannot be easily confused with any other species.

In Mexican waters the Long-Barbeled Sea Catfish is found in the lower 80 percent of the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.

They reach 70 cm (28 inches) in length and are generally found over sand and mud bottoms in the first 60 feet of the water column being common in coastal seas and estuaries.

The Long-Barbeled Sea Catfish is viewed as good table fare and sold commercially.

Caution: care must be taken to avoid being gaffed by the venomous spines found at the front of the first dorsal and pectoral fins.

The Long-Barbeled Sea Catfish is a member of the Ariidae Family which are the Sea Catfishes which are known in Mexico as Bargres Marinos. The Sea Catfishes occur in all tropical and subtropical seas. They are characterized by having two pairs of barbels, one very long pair on the upper lips and one short pair on the chin and deeply forked tails. They have a large stiff spine at the front of the first dorsal and pectoral fins, which are venomous, a small skin flap for a second dorsal fin, and they have a complete lateral line. They feed on small fishes and a variety of benthic invertebrates, including shrimps, crabs and mollusks. There are five global members of the Bagre Genus of which two are found in Mexican waters.

Long-Barbeled Sea Catfish picture

Long-Barbeled Sea Catfish, Bagre pinnimaculatus: Fish courtesy of Walmart, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in September 2011, weighing 1 pound and sold for $1.00. Length 38 cm (15 inches). A complicated body structure with lots of attributes making for an easy identification. Description and photo courtesy of John Snow.

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