(Eigenmann & Allen, 1942)
e stay on the South American continent for
this months (July 2004) factsheet and to a long standing member
of the Auchenipteridaebfamily,
the "Midnight Catfish", Auchenipterichthys coracoideus.
This "Driftwood catfish" has been around the hobby for
many years, and with a few other cats from other Genera, was one
of the first uncommon catfish you could find in your LFS and would
be the first member of the Auchenipteridae family that many catfish
enthusiasts would encounter. I still remember fondly of finding
them in a shop in the early eighties on one of my catfish hunting
day trips and getting quite excited with my purchases. In these
days of course this catfish was known as Auchenipterichthys
thoracatus which we now know as a completely different fish
altogether, they come from the waters of the Amazon River basin
and the Araguaia River in the Tocantins basin while Auchenipterichthys
thoracatus come from the upper Madeira River basin
(see update below).
The "Midnight Catfish" received its common name due
to its background colour of blue-grey with its vertical rows of
tiny white specs adorning the foreground, hence the fish resembling
the night sky. The other common name of the Zamora catfish stems
from the catching locality around the Zamora region of Peru and
is caught in fairly large numbers.
A tank setup for this species would entail a minimum size of 36x12x15ins
(92x30x38cm) with plenty of hiding places with a temperature around
the 23-25°c (73-77°f.) mark. Filtration
could be by external or internal filters.
You don't need to provide too strong a current in your aquarium
as this would unnerve this secretive fish and also not too bright
aquarium lighting would benefit this cat also. A parting shot
here is the fish you would include with your "Midnight Catfish",
try to keep away from small tetra-like fish as they will soon
disappear at night and also aggressive fish such as the larger
Cichlids which would harass this catfish and stop it getting any
Auchenipterichthys coracoideus has
a very shark-like appearance with its black tip to the dorsal
and when you do catch it out swimming it is very graceful, darting
in and out of the tank decorations, and is well worth seeing for
the first time. It can be quite a secretive fish, only coming
out at lights out, but in time when it settles in to your aquarium
you may start to see it on the odd occasion during the day looking
for food, and even going to the surface of the water for any tit-bits.
To sex male from female is common to the Auchenipteridae
family. Juveniles are hard to sex
but as they mature the males develop a black hooked extension
to the anal fin which resembles the gonopodium of Livebearers
of the Goodiae family.
There is an other member of this genus, Auchenipterichthys
longimanus which looks alike but sports black spots in place
of the white of Auchenipterichthys coracoideus.
As from 2005 this
catfish was misidentified and through the scientific studies
carried out by Carl J. Ferraris Jr., Richard P. Vari, and
Sandra J. Raredon in their paper Catfishes of the
genus Auchenipterichthys (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes: Auchenipteridae);
a revisionary study, this species is instead Auchenipterichthys
coracoideus. This is an extract from the named paper.
"The Neotropical auchenipterid
catfish genus Auchenipterichthys is reviewed and
found to include four species. Auchenipterichthys thoracatus,
formerly considered to be widely distributed throughout
the Amazon River basin, is found to be restricted to the
upper Madeira River basin. The widespread Amazonian species
that had been misidentified as A. thoracatus is,
instead, A. coracoideus; a species that also occurs
in the upper Essequibo River. Auchenipterichthys longimanus,
the most widely distributed species of the genus, is found
through much of the Amazon and Orinoco River basins. The
fourth species of the genus, A. punctatus (and
its junior synonym A. dantei), is found in the
upper portions of the Orinoco and Negro River basins in
Venezuela and the central portions of the Amazon River basin
D; 1-6, Shark-like body appearance, large
eyes, deep caudal peduncle with truncate to keel shaped caudal fin.
Large anal fin.
Blue-grey body colouration with small white
spots. Black tip to dorsal fin. Pectoral and dorsal spines with
black edging. Anal fin with black edging. When in good condition
these fish can show a yellow colouration in the caudal fin band.
Good community catfish with normal sized patrons
but not to be trusted with small Tetras for instance, which will
be picked of at night on its twilight patrols.
This family practice internal fertilization
with the female depositing the fertilized eggs on aquatic vegetation
with no care of the eggs shown. An unsuccessful breeding report
states that the male swims behind the female and they suddenly lock
their pectoral, female's adipose and caudal fin. They speed around
the tank and are oblivious to anything around them.
After this confrontation they break apart and fall to the aquarium
floor where they sit for a couple hours in a "dazed" condition.
Can be fed most aquarium fare such as good
quality flake, white worm, tablet and pellet foods and frozen foods
such as bloodworm. Better to feed at
lights out until they get accustomed to the daytime feeding regime
when they may very well join in.
From the Greek, auchenos, meaning neck; pteron, meaning
fin; ichthys, meaning fish in reference to the long cranial shield,
giving the appearance that the dorsal fin originates at the neck
coracoideus: Like a raven, black.
A Fish for the Midnight Hour ; Fishkeeping Answers October
Carl J. Ferraris Jr., Richard P. Vari, and Sandra J. Raredon.
Catfishes of the genus Auchenipterichthys (Osteichthyes:
Siluriformes: Auchenipteridae); a revisionary study
Allan James @
| Trachycorystes coracoides
|Midnight Catfish, Zamora
River, central and upper portions of Amazon River, and Essequibo
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