ver since I set my eyes on this species, and the only time, was
at a fish show that I was judging at in the North of England in
about 1998. It was small, about 10ins in length and didn't gain
an award, but I have never forgotten it and my memory was jogged
once again by an article that was contributed to ScotCat 10 years
later in 2008 by German aquarist and author, Wolfgang Ros, which
you can read here
The Pimelodidae family in my opinion always
seem to have the species that somehow look what catfish should
look like , if you get my drift, and the "Vulture Catfish"
is no exception with its sleek look and long barbels and of
course its large mouth.
Wolfgang in his article likened Calophysus
macropterus to any shark species in the way it moves in
the water and its eating habits. The common name of the "Vulture
Catfish" complies with the bird species also, in that it
will scavenge everything and anything, is very voracious, and
has been known to attack the lines and nets of local Fishermen
to get at there catches. It also has the repugnant reputation
of eating human faeces alongside villages in the rivers where
there is a human population.
The body shape is elongate and the head broad,
its surface covered in skin. A
wedge shaped fontanel extends from about the posterior nasal openings
to the the posterior margins of the eyes and another circular one
is present at the base of the occipital process. The eyes are superior
in position. The barbels are flattened, the maxillary pair long,
extending to at least to the end of the adipose fin and often extending
beyond the end of the caudal fin. The first dorsal ray in the dorsal
fin ray is not spinous, although in some individuals the base is
about half as stiff as some spines of other species and longer than
the succeeding rays. The adipose fin is long and the caudal fin
is deeply emarginate.
I must admit that in the "Large Catfish" world this
is probably one of the nicest looking and comparatively easy
to keep species if you are a big cat enthusiast, and if you
are able to give it a large tank to cruise around in.
Wolfgang states that they can be kept
with congeners, better with two or three and introduced together
in the Aquarium as youngsters. This would precipitate having
a larger tank of over 6ft (180cm) in length 2' 6" (75cm)
depth and a width of 3' 0" (90cm) so you see this is a
fish for the serious catfish keeper.
This species is monotypic (only species
in the genus) and as such the fins are different and there are
differences in the teeth structure and a reduction in the swim
bladder to other members of the Pimelodidae family. There has
been calls to place this catfish in its own family but at the
moment it is classed in the Pimelodidae.
Silver/grey body with bluish undertones. The
body down to the insertion of the pectoral fins has an irregular
and there can be different patterns in different populations of
this species. The belly is white.
An out and out predator so should only
be kept with larger species such as South American cichlids, Oscars
etc. and the larger L-number armoured Loricariids.
Shrimps, fish fillets and live foods such
as Earthworms. Will gladly take tablet, pellet foods and
|The males will be slimmer
than the females.
between the bones on top of the skull covered by skin.
median bone on the upper surface of the back of the head;
pertaining to the occiput.
Anal Fin: The
fin forward from the anal cavity.
Dorsal fin is defined
as the medial fin on top of back.
Caudal fin is defined as the tail fin.
Pectoral fins are defined as paired lateral
Pelvic fins are defined as paired ventral
fins between the pectoral and anal fins.
Greek, kalos, kallos = beautiful +
Greek, physa = tube
Large wing, (referring to the fins.)
1989 An atlas of freshwater
and marine catfishes. A preliminary survey of the Siluriformes.
T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey (USA).
Ros, Wolfgang; and Schmidt,
"shark" in the fresh water aquarium: Calophysus
macropterus. ScotCat article no.103. June. 2008.
macropterus, Pimelodus ctenodus, Pimeletropsis lateralis
America: Amazon and Orinoco
-26°C (71 -79°F)
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