Fun Driftwood Catfish Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Driftwood catfish facts are fun to learn.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.7 Min

Have you ever wondered why the driftwood catfish is such an uncommon marine animal? If yes, then, in this article we are going to learn some interesting facts about the variable colored driftwood catfish.

The driftwood catfish is a small marine fish native to tropical South America and is also known as the Colombian wood catfish or Colombian woodcat. It is primarily a Colombian fish and is rarely found in other parts of tropical South America like Guyana, Peru, and parts of Brazil. The driftwood catfish, (Trachelyopterus fisheri) is a member of the Auchenipteridae family and class Actinopterygii. They could be spotted in a small group of few fishes but the younger fishes or tank mates when kept in an aquarium are generally considered food by the adults. Driftwood catfish (Trachelyopterus fisheri) vary widely in coloration and the males and females look almost identical, except during the breeding season. In the breeding season, the males develop certain physical characteristics which help in the internal fertilization of female fishes.

The feeding habits of the Colombian wood catfish are like most other catfishes, which are generally carnivores and feed on small insects, insect larvae, cichlids, smaller marine animals, and occasionally plants. The fish is often seen on the surface of rivers or tributaries searching for food. Most catfishes live for long years in their natural habitat and it can be assumed that Trachelyopterus fisheri also lives for long years in the wild.

For more relatable content, check out these channel catfish facts and rainbow trout facts for kids.

Driftwood Catfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a driftwood catfish?

Colombian woodcat or driftwood catfish scientific name is Trachelyopterus fisheri. It is a Colombian bony fish of freshwater habitat.

What class of animal does a driftwood catfish belong to?

The Colombian wood catfish belongs to the class Actinopterygii of the animal kingdom.

How many driftwood catfish are there in the world?

The driftwood catfish (Trachelyopterus fisheri) is mainly imported from Rio Sucio in Colombia. Unfortunately, due to a lack of substantial data, the exact global population of this species cannot be determined.

Where does a driftwood catfish live?

The driftwood catfish or Colombian woodcat is native to Rio Sucio of Colombia, in tropical South America.

What is a driftwood catfish's habitat?

Driftwood catfishes are freshwater animals. This peaceful Colombian fish is nocturnal and often comes up to the surface of water bodies in search of food.

Who do driftwood catfish live with?

This fish is generally peaceful and can sometimes be spotted in a small group. However, they are not seen swimming in a group withyounger fishes or with smaller tank mates in an aquarium, since the younger ones are often considered food by the adults.

How long does a driftwood catfish live?

It is not known how long this Colombian fish lives in the wild. However, catfishes generally live for long years in their natural habitat, sometimes over 80 years. It would not be wrong to assume that driftwood catfish also live a long life in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

During the breeding season, the driftwood catfish (Trachelyopterus fisheri) lays eggs to give birth to young ones. The males develop a huge anal fin spine and thickened upper jaw barbels and an odd genital-like copulation organ that is used to fertilize the females. A similar protruding structure is also noticed in bottlenose catfish, a related species. Female fishes lay eggs after the incubation period. The eggs then mature under the right temperature conditions into full-grown adults. Interestingly, these physical characteristics of the males disappear right after the mating season. Both sexes of this Colombian wood catfish species again look so similar that it becomes nearly impossible to tell them apart.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this peaceful Colombian wood catfish is Not Evaluated under the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List. However, it has been observed that the fish is quite uncommon and is often not seen in large numbers.

Driftwood Catfish Fun Facts

What do driftwood catfish look like?

The Colombian wood catfish (Trachelyopterus fisheri) is quite a rare marine animal. The nocturnal fishes differ heavily in terms of their physical coloration and size. The average driftwood catfish size varies between 4.73-6.5 in (12.2-16.51 cm), while some can grow up to 11.02 in (28 cm) in length. The males and females look almost identical, making it hard to tell them apart. However, during the breeding season, the male fish develop a huge anal fin spine and thickened upper jaw barbels, along with genital-like copulation on their body for internal fertilization of the females. These features soon disappear once the mating season is over.

A driftwood catfish often comes up to the surface of the water to feed on small insects and marine animals as they are a part of its diet.

* Please note that this is an image of a cory catfish. If you have an image of a driftwood catfish please let us know at

How cute are they?

Small Colombian woodcat fish are peaceful and vary in size and color, which makes them particularly attractive and amusing.

How do they communicate?

Even though there is not enough information on how the Colombian woodcat or driftwood catfish, (Trachelyopterus fisheri) communicates, it is known that most catfishes possess excellent senses of sight and smell. Catfishes with whiskers are able to feel the motions in water, even in the depths. Their senses help the fish to survive in the depths where it is much darker. Research has also shown that some species of catfish like the Synodontis schoutedeni communicate through a squeaking sound made by rubbing the spines of its pectoral fins.

How big is a driftwood catfish?

This fish species can grow up to 11.02 in (28 cm) in length, with an average length of 4.73-6.5 in (12.2-16.51 cm).

These fish are about four to five times bigger than the cory catfish that varies between a minimum of 1- 2.5 in (2.54-6.35 cm) in length.

How fast can a driftwood catfish swim?

It is not known how fast a driftwood catfish swims, however, catfishes, in general, are good swimmers and they use the fins present on the dorsal and ventral sides of their body to navigate in water.

How much does a driftwood catfish weigh?

The exact weight of the catfish cannot be ascertained. Catfishes come in different shapes and sizes with some of the largest fishes weighing nearly 100 lb (49.35 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female driftwood catfishes do not have distinct names.

What would you call a baby driftwood catfish?

A baby Colombian wood catfish does not have a distinct name.

What do they eat?

Colombian wood catfish (Trachelyopterus fisheri), much like other catfishes, are either carnivorous or herbivorous by nature. Some species like the blue catfish, flathead catfish, and channel catfish are predominantly carnivores and their foods include smaller fishes like cichlids, insect larvae, crabs, crustaceans among other marine animals. The foods of herbivorous catfishes mainly include different marine plants.

Are they aggressive?

The driftwood catfish (Trachelyopterus fisheri) is not known to have caused any threat or harm to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Many people like to keep driftwood catfish or Colombian wood catfish in their aquarium as a hobby. In Indonesia, this fish is commercially bred to be kept as pets in an aquarium. The driftwood catfish is not aggressive and its care involves ideal temperature conditions, water hardness, and proper food to survive in an aquarium. However, driftwood catfish care is very important as any other fish.

Did you know...

This Colombian woodcat fish is often found hiding behind logs or driftwoods or rocks. They are either hiding from predators or looking for foods or another substrate.

How did the driftwood catfish get its name?

The driftwood catfish's scientific name is Trachelyopterus fisheri. Trachelyopterus means 'with extreme fin' while the word 'fisheri' was given after Carl G. Fisher, the man responsible for the second expedition to the type locality of this fish.

Do driftwood catfish eat algae?

There isn't enough evidence to conclude whether the driftwood catfish's feeding habitats include any kind of algae. It is a common misconception that all catfishes' diet consists of algae when there are many species that do not consume algae.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our channel catfish facts and blue catfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable catfish coloring pages.

* Please note that the main image is a cory catfish, another species in the catfish family. If you have an image of a driftwood catfish please let us know at

Driftwood Catfish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small fish, insects, insect larvae, and shrimp

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?


Where Do They Live?

colombia and tropical south america

How Long Were They?

4.73-6.5 in (12.2-16.51 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Trachelyopterus fisheri

What Do They Look Like?

Variable colors

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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