Species of the catfish family, Ictaluridae, can be distinguished from other freshwater-fish families in New Zealand as they all have scales, four pairs of long feeler-like barbels around the mouth, stout spines at the front of the pectoral fins, stout spines at the front of the dorsal fin, a lateral line, and an adipose fin.
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Source: R. M. McDowall, Reed field guide to New Zealand freshwater fishes. Auckland: Reed, 2000, p. 137