month we concentrate on a very weird member of the
Doradidae family, namely the "Spotted talking
catfish" Agamyxis pectinifrons. This catfish
has been in the hobby for many years and is sometimes
overlooked in the quest for the more gaudy colours
of the members of the Loricariidae family, i.e. the
L-numbers, but as you can see in the picture below
it can even rival them in the colourful stakes.
There are two
species in this genus, the aforementioned A. pectinifrons
and A. albomaculatus (Peters, 1877). A.
pectinifrons is found in Ecuador and Peru while
A. albomaculatus is only found in Venezuela.
There is not a great deal of differences as far as
I can see in the 2 species apart from maybe albomaculatus
being a bit slimmer and having more spots. There also
seems to be a different pattern in the caudal fin.
The first thing you notice is the weird shape reminiscent
of the "Hunchback of Notre dam" and old
specimens can get very hunchbacked in their advancing
years. This is a very long lived species with reports
of 17 years longevity and are very hardy to boot!.
pectinifrons:dorsal head view
basic setup for the
"Spotted talking catfish" would be a not
too brightly lit aquarium with bogwood or equivalent
for them to hide away in the roots or in the crevices
of carefully stacked stonework. Substrate is not a
great issue with either rounded gravel or sand. A
regime of monthly water changes should keep this catfish
happy for many years.
It is very nocturnal
as are most members of this family and you must be
aware of their pectoral spines as they can lock them
and if your fingers are in the road it can be mighty
painful!. If catching this species for any reason
you must not use a net as their spines will get hopelessly
entangled. A better method is to lower a container
to scoop it up in. If you must handle this fish, make
sure that you grasp it forward of the pectoral spines
in the head area.
In common with
most of the Doradidae family when out of the water,
it can create a sound by grating its fin bones in
each socket and amplifying the noise via the swim
bladder, which is one reason why it commands the common
name of the Spotted
Doras pectinifrons, Doras
Amazon River basin: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador,
Peru. Type locality: Pebas, Ecuador,
A 1/11; P1/5. Dorsal spine toothed on both anterior
and posterior surfaces. Spinous scutes confined to
the posterior half of the body. 3 pairs of barbels.
Caudal shape, truncate.
Dark brown to blue-black,
with numerous pale blotches/spots on the head and
body. Underside somewhat paler, similarly marked.
Fins dark, with pale stripes and spots which may
run together to form transverse bars. Old individuals
are almost uniformly dark brown with white blotches
on the belly.
Care & Compatibility
Good community catfish although
very nocturnal. May eat very small fish or fry on
night time forages.
No reports on
the breeding of this species in captivity but may
lay its eggs in floating plants in its natural habitat.
A good practice is to drop
tablet food at dusk, in the area where it resides.
It will eat a wide variety of foods including flake,
and frozen foods such as bloodworm.
With (very) much slime. pectinifrons: With
a comb on the forehead, (probably refers to the toothed
dorsal fin spine).
Freshwater Fishes of the World 1.
Jonas Hansel @
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