Emphasis on physiological adaptations to environmental changes in the catfish (Siluroidei), is a rather recent development like that of their use in aquaculture. The siluroid fishes with smooth scaleless skin and sensory barbels are adapted to live in a variety of aquatic environments ranging from freshwater and brackishwater to swamps and marshes both in temperate and tropical regions. However, very little has been explored on their expected wide range of physiological adaptations. Most of the results obtained in siluroid fishes are similar to those reported for other teleosts such as cypriniform species. However, there are some air-breathing siluroids, found in the tropical areas, with accessory air-breathing organs. Besides tolerating periods of water deprivation, some of these fishes have been shown to possess-special physiological and biochemical adaptive mechanisms to tolerate a wide range of adverse physico-chemical conditions in the ambient environment. Some of the physiological adaptive mechanisms of Siluroidei in general, and air-breathing species in particular, to important physico-chemical factors such as oxygen,temperature, ammonia and xenobiotics are reviewed and discussed.