Open main menu
Not to be confused with Scathophagidae, a fly family.

The scats are a small family, Scatophagidae, of fishes in the order Perciformes.

Temporal range: Eocene–Recent
Scatophagus argus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Scatophagidae

See text for species.

They are small fish native to the Indian and western Pacific Oceans that have been popular in the aquarium trade in the last 30 years. Although juvenile scats may live in a freshwater environment, most adult scats prefer a brackish water environment. However, the African scat, Scatophagus tetracanthus, can and does live in fresh water in the wild. The largest species reaches 38 cm in length and some have been known to live more than 20 years in captivity given the proper water conditions. They are scavengers, feeding on algae and feces, hence their name, from Greek skatos meaning "feces" and phagein meaning "eat".


The four species in two genera are:

Scatophagus frontalis fossil