Institut d'Ecologia Aquàtica

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Scientific article: Ecology, behaviour and management of the European catfish
Silurus glanis

Commercial values and recreational interests threatens megafishes, while some species have become invasive exotic, such as the European catfish. This article reviews the most recent knowledge on its current distribution and ecology and identify key questions to stimulate new research on this and other freshwater invaders.

Julien Cucherousset, Pavel HorkyOndrej Slavík, Michaël Ovidio, Robert Arlinghaus, Stéphanie Boulêtreau, Robert Britton, Emili García-Berthou & Frédéric Santoul


The extreme body sizes of megafishes associated with their high commercial values and recreational interests have made them highly threatened in their native range worldwide by human-induced impacts such as overexploitation. Meanwhile, some megafishes have been introduced outside of their native range. A notable example is the European catfish (Silurus glanis), one of the few siluriforms native to Eastern Europe. It is among the 20 largest freshwater fish worldwide, attaining a total length over 2.7 m and a documented mass of 130 kg. Its distinct phylogeny and extreme size imply many features that are rare among other European fish, including novel behaviours (massive aggregations, beaching), consumption of large bodied prey, fast growth rates, long lifespan, high fecundity, nest guarding and large egg sizes. The spread of the species is likely to continue due to illegal introductions, primarily for recreational angling, coupled with natural range extension associated with climate change. Here, the most recent knowledge on the current distribution and the ecology of the species are reviewed. A series of key research questions are identified that should stimulate new research on this intriguing, yet largely unknown, species and, more generally, on the ecology of freshwater invaders.

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