Catfish are typically known for their delicious taste and harmless nature. However, there are certain species of catfish that possess venomous spines or barbs which can cause serious harm to humans. In this article, we will explore some of the most deadly and dangerous venomous catfish species that you need to be aware of.

1. The Striped Raphael Catfish

The Striped Raphael Catfish, scientifically known as Platydoras armatulus, is a popular fish among aquarium enthusiasts. However, what most people don’t realize is that this catfish species possesses venomous spines near its pectoral fins. These spines can cause excruciating pain, swelling, and even paralysis if stung. It is important to handle this catfish species with extreme caution.

2. The Candiru

The Candiru, also known as the toothpick fish or vampire fish, is a small parasitic catfish species found in the Amazon River. Despite their tiny size, they are infamous for their habit of swimming up the urethra of unsuspecting victims. While they are not venomous, the pain and discomfort caused by their parasitic behavior is enough to earn them a spot on this list.

3. The Electric Catfish

The Electric Catfish, belonging to the family Malapteruridae, is unique in its ability to produce electric shocks. While not directly venomous, these shocks can be extremely powerful and pose a serious threat to humans. Some species of Electric Catfish are known to generate shocks of up to 350 volts, which can cause cardiac arrhythmia and even be fatal.

4. The Goonch Catfish

The Goonch Catfish, native to the rivers of South Asia, has gained notoriety for its large size and predatory behavior. While it is not venomous, it has been known to attack and kill humans, especially in cases where corpses are disposed of in their habitat. These catfish can grow to tremendous sizes and have been reported to attack humans who enter their territory.


While most catfish species are harmless, there are a few exceptions that possess venomous spines or exhibit predatory behavior. It is crucial for individuals to be aware of these deadly and dangerous catfish species in order to avoid potential harm. Always exercise caution and avoid handling these species without proper knowledge or expertise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are all catfish species venomous?

A: No, not all catfish species are venomous. The majority of catfish species are harmless.

Q: What should I do if I get stung by a venomous catfish?

A: If you get stung by a venomous catfish, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. The venom can cause severe pain and other adverse effects.

Q: Can venomous catfish be kept as pets?

A: It is generally not recommended to keep venomous catfish as pets, as they can pose a risk to both the owner and other tank inhabitants.



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