, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 16-25

Growth and morphological development of laboratory-reared larval and juvenile bighead catfish Clarias macrocephalus (Siluriformes: Clariidae)

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Abstract

Morphological development in laboratory-reared larval and juvenile bighead catfish Clarias macrocephalus is described. Body length (BL) of larvae and juveniles was 3.4 ± 0.3 (mean ± SD) mm just after hatching, reaching 11.3 ± 1.0 mm by day 16, and 24.2 ± 2.8 mm by day 40. Overall aggregate fin ray numbers (except for caudal fin procurrent rays) attained full complements by 15.2 mm BL. Gill buds appeared on day 0, those of barbels (four pairs) and primordial nostrils on day 1, and pectoral fins on day 3. All larvae began feeding by day 3. Conical teeth were observed on day 7. Notochord flexion began on day 2, the yolk being completely absorbed during days 7–9. Melanophores were scarce at hatching, increasing with growth to cover almost the entire body except the ventral surface of the abdominal cavity. Proportions of head length, pre-anal length, body depth, eye diameter, and maxillary barbel length became relatively constant after yolk absorption, those of snout length and upper jaw length increasing until ca. 12–13 mm BL and decreasing thereafter. Suprabranchial organ started developing in postflexion larval stage larger than ca. 11.0 mm BL (day 16), and air-breathing was suggested to be functional at that time.