Evolution: a catfish that can strike its prey on land

Nature. 2006 Apr 13;440(7086):881. doi: 10.1038/440881a.


An important step towards understanding the evolution of terrestriality in vertebrates is to identify how the aquatic ancestors of tetrapods were able to access ground-based prey. We have discovered that the 'eel catfish' Channallabes apus, an inhabitant of the muddy swamps of tropical Africa, has a remarkable ability to forage and capture prey on land. The animal's capacity to bend its head down towards the ground while feeding seems to be an essential feature that may have enabled fish to make the transition from an aquatic to a terrestrial mode.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Catfishes / anatomy & histology*
  • Catfishes / physiology*
  • Environment*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Predatory Behavior / physiology*
  • Tropical Climate
  • Water


  • Water