punctatus (Valenciennes, 1840)
ur last factsheet of 2017 and we head to South America to a member
of the Auchenipteridae
family and one you do not see very
often in the hobby, not like Auchenipterichthys coracoideus,
the "Midnight Catfish". I am referring of course
to Auchenipterichthys punctatus.
There are four species in this genera
namely, A. coracoideus,
a species that occurs in the upper Essequibo River, Auchenipterichthys
longimanus, the most widely distributed species of
the genus, and found through much of the Amazon and Orinoco
River basins, Auchenipterichthys thoracatus from
the upper Madeira River basin and at one time misidentified
as A. coracoideus and our fourth species of the
genus, and our factsheet of the month for December
2017, A. punctatus (and its junior synonym A.
dantei). It is found in the upper portions of the Orinoco
and Negro River basins in Venezuela and the central portions
of the Amazon River basin in Brazil. At the northernmost
collecting site (altitude of about 150 m) along upper Rio
Negro, the water was blackish, over rocky bottoms.
= showing the
extended sharp spine to dorsal fin.
is most similar in appearance to A. longimanus, which
differs from A. punctatus primarily in lacking distinct,
dark spots covering the head or body. Auchenipterichthys punctatus
is readily distinguished from its other two congeners, A.
coracoideus and A. thoracatus, which have coracoids
that are covered ventrally only by a thin layer of integument
and appear to be exposed to the surface, the anterior teeth on
premaxilla are visible in the closed mouth and, typically, eight
(rarely nine) branched pelvic-fin rays (Ferraris et.al. 2005).
Dorsal-fin origin at approximately 0.30–0.34
of SL. Length of dorsal-fin base slightly less than one-half of
length of first branched dorsal-fin ray. Dorsal-fin spine pungent,
with slightly curved, convex anterior margin (see above image).
Body depth at dorsal-fin origin 0.25–0.27 of SL and equal
to, or slightly greater than body width at cleithrum. Body depth
at anal-fin origin approximately 0.25 of SL and equal to HL. Body
compressed, with width at anal-fin origin slightly less than one-half
of body depth at that point. Ventral surface of coracoids not
exposed on ventral surface of body (Fig. 1c). Lateral line complete
and midlateral. Canal having irregular zigzag pattern, with oblique
posteriorly-directed branches off main canal. Lateral line canal
extending short distance onto caudal fin base and branched with
both obliquely posterodorsal and obliquely posteroventral branches.
Overall ground colouration of adults tan to
brown, universally dark on dorsal portion of head and body other
than in smaller individuals that may have darker spots scattered
over dorsal one-half of body. Midlateral region along lateral line
pale other than in smaller individuals. Pale region in such specimens
forming narrow, irregularly-margined,
horizontal stripe. Lateral and dorsolateral surface of body with
series of unpigmented, rounded spots of size most often approximately
equal to one-fifth of width of pupil or smaller. Lateral
surface of body ventral of lateral line tan to light brown and overlain
by variably sized and distributed spots of dark pigmentation. Dark
spots proportionally larger in small specimens. Abdomen and lower
portion of head posterior of lateral mandibular barbel pale. Margin
of lower lip darkly pigmented.
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
A. punctatus, 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 food.
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
for A. coracoideus 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.
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.
Stomach contents of four specimens indicate
a diet consisting mainly of insect nymphs and adults. (Soares-Porto,
L.M. 1994). 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.
The major bone of the pectoral girdle, extending upward
from the pectoral fin base and forming the rear margin of
the gill cavity, also: the principal bow-shaped bone of
the prectoral girlde, dermal in origin, forming the rear
margin of the gill cavity. It articulates dorsally with
the supracleithrum and ventrally with the scapula and coracoid.
Anal fin: The median,
unpaired, ventrally located fin that lies behind the anus,
usually on the posterior half of the fish.
Middle and lower section of
the pectoral girdle.
Lateral line: A sensory line, along the sides of
Dorsal: The primary rayed fin(s) on top
of the body.
Caudal fin: The
Pungent: piercing or sharp-pointed.
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 region.
punctatus: From the Latin punctatus
Ferraris, C.J. Jr.,
2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes:
Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa
Soares-Porto, L.M. 1994 Auchenipterichthys dantei,
a new species of catfish from the Amazon Basin (Siluriformes:
Auchenipteridae). Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwat. 5(3):281-287.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., Vari, P. Richard
and Raredon, J.Sandra; Catfishes of the genus Auchenipterichthys
(Osteichthyes: Siluriformes: Auchenipteridae); a revisionary study.
Neotropical Ichthyology, 3(1):89-106, 2005.