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Kryptopterus species.jpg
Ghost catfish, Kryptopterus vitreolus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Siluridae
Genus: Kryptopterus
Bleeker, 1857
Type species
Kryptopterus micropus
Bleeker 1857
19 known species

Kryptopterus is a genus of catfishes belonging to the family Siluridae. They are found in freshwater throughout Southeast Asia. The scientific name comes from Ancient Greek kryptós (κρυπτός, "hidden") + ptéryx (πτέρυξ, "fin"). It refers to the reduced or even entirely absent dorsal fin of these catfishes.[1]

These small- to medium-sized catfishes have opaque, transparent or translucent bodies, hence their common name Asian glass catfishes. Despite this name, only three described species have clearly transparent bodies: K. minor, K. piperatus and K. vitreolus.[2] Most significant among these is the ghost catfish (K. vitreolus), which is the "glass catfish" most often seen in the aquarium fish trade. This species was initially confused with the larger glass catfish (K. bicirrhis; infrequent in aquarium trade) and subsequently with K. minor (essentially absent from aquarium trade). This matter was only fully resolved in 2013.[2][3]


While 18 species have been described as of 2013, the genus Kryprtopterus is notoriously rich in cryptic species. A number of these have been recognized in recent years, and more are likely to follow:[4][5]

Some species formerly placed in Kryptopterus are nowadays in other Siluridae genera, in particular Phalacronotus but also Micronema and Pterocryptis.[6]


  1. ^ "Kryptopterus minor Roberts, 1989". Cat-eLog Data Sheets. PlanetCatfish. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Ng, H-H. and M. Kottelat (2013). After eighty years of misidentification, a name for the glass catfish (Teleostei: Siluridae) Zootaxa 3630: 308-316.
  3. ^ SeriouslyFish: Kryptopterus vitreolus. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  4. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2013). Species of Kryptopterus in FishBase. February 2013 version.
  5. ^ a b Ng, H.H. & Kottelat, M. (2013): After eighty years of misidentification, a name for the glass catfish (Teleostei: Siluridae). Zootaxa, 3630 (2): 308–316., doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3630.2.6
  6. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2014). "Siluridae" in FishBase. July 2014 version.