How To Differentiate Between Male And Female Catfish


A catfish is a diverse group of ray-finned fish, popularly called ‘catfish’ because of their barbels, which look like the whiskers of a cat. The catfish is an incredible type of fish. They have distinct abilities that make them an exciting specie. They can thrive in very cold or very hot temperatures and can be found in almost all continents apart from Antarctica. Some species can live in saltwater, fresh water, and brackish water and their maturity age is just about 6 months. They also make for good fish pepper soup. If you have ever tasted one, you will know.

In this article, we will be looking at how to differentiate between the male and female catfish if your intent is to raise or catch them.

  • The male catfish are smaller and narrower than the female counterpart. This is because the female catfish can grow up to 1 inch larger than the male catfish. So, just by holding the two or looking closely, you can tell the male from the female.
  • In the belly area, the female is about 1 ½ inches wider and rounder than the male catfish. This is to make room for them to carry many eggs.
  • The head of a male catfish is larger and wider than that of the female catfish. It can actually be up to 1 inch larger in size.
  • The dorsal fin of the catfish differs according to their sex. The male catfish has a longer and brighter coloured fin than the female catfish.
  • Both the female and the male catfish have two openings each on the lower belly that serve as the anus and the genitals. The male genitals are raised and appear like a nipple, while the female genital area has a more rounded look. Just before spawning, the female genital area is usually swollen and reddish.

The male and female catfish look alike and you might miss these distinctions on a first glance unless you get familiar with what to look out for. When raising catfish, you will need to know the difference between the males and females in order to make the most of your farm.