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Xyliphius melanopterus Orcés V., 1962

Image contributors to this species:

Johnny Jensen's  Photographic Library (3) Allan James (1)

ScotCat Sources:

Etymology = Genus 

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Search Google  All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

Xyliphius live buried in the sand and perhaps gravel of swift flowing streams. The banjo catfish genus Xyliphius was established by Eigenmann (1912) to include a single species, X. magdalenae Eigenmann, from río Magdalena basin, Girardot, Colombia. That description was based on a single specimen, 32.0 mm SL. Later, four species were described in a short time frame: X. lepturus and X. melanopterus from western headwaters of río Bobonaza, upper Amazon basin (Orcés, 1962), X. barbatus (Alonso de Arámburu & Arámburu, 1962), and X. lombarderoi (Risso & Risso, 1964), from río Paraná, in Argentina. A sixth species, X. kryptos, was described by Taphorn & Lilyestrom (1983), from río Aricuaisá, lago de Maracaibo basin, Venezuela. Further collections, though small, expanded the distribution of species of Xyliphius beyond their type localities (Cala, 1977). Currently, the six nominal species of Xyliphius are known from northern South America in the río Magdalena system (X. magdalenae), lago de Maracaibo (X. kryptos), and western headwaters of the Amazonas basin and río Orinoco (X. lepturus and X. melanopterus), and from southern South America in the río de La Plata system (X. barbatus and X. lombarderoi) (Taphorn & Lilyestrom, 1983; Galvis et al., 1997; Calviño & Castello, 2008). Another new species, Xyliphius anachoretes (Figueiredo Carlos A, Britto Marcelo R. 2010) making 7 species in total is from the Tocantins-Araguaia River system.

Common Name:

Skunk Banjo Catfish






South America: upper Amazon and Orinoco River basins. Type locality: el bajo Pucayacu no lejos de su desembocadura en el Bobonaza [Ecuador]


15.0cm. (6ins)


20-24°C (67-75°f.)


6.0 -7.0.


Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Friel, J.P., 2003. Aspredinidae (Banjo catfishes). p. 261-267. In R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. (eds.) Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, Brasil. 



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