he first factsheet of 2007 centers
on a relatively new member and a new family, the Horabagridae,
and to me one of the most secretive, the "Black
Collared Catfish", Horabagrus nigricollaris.
have kept plenty of catfish that like to hide away
for weeks and even months on end and this species
certainly fits in with the latter. It is kept in the
fishhouse so maybe you may see it more in a tank situated
in your living room.
There are only two species in this genus, the other
and the differences between the two apart from
colouration (see image below) is that H. nigricollaris
has the spot behind the gills extending over the head
to meet the corresponding spot on the other side whereas
H. brachysoma has only the spot on both sides
(a good identification guide). There are also slight
differences with the caudal and dorsal fins. Colour
in the tank can vary from light to very dark depending
on lighting and substrate.
similar apart from colouration
genus has had a checkered history with H. brachysoma
named in 1864 by Günther as Pseudobagrus
brachysoma and placed in the Bagridae family.
In 1955, Day, while studying this family, created
a new genus Horabagrus and placed this only
species (at that time) into it. In 1964, Tilak in
studying the osteology and weberian apparatus of the
Schilbidae family doubted the inclusion of Horabagrus
in the Bagridae family.
Mo (1991) then
suggested that this genus should be placed in the
Schilbidae family and a few authors have actually
taken this as they feel that there are a few similarities
that place them in this family. At the moment we at
ScotCat have it in Bagridae but I am sure that in
the future there will be more work done on this genus
and a final destination for these two species.
genera including H.brachysoma and H.nigricollariswere originally placed in the Bagridae family
but work carried out by JAYARAM suggested that the
Horabagrus were more closely related to the
Schilbidae family but could be given their own family,
Horabagridae, with some species taken out of the Schilbidae
that are phylogenetically different.
As bagrids go
this is quite a pretty species and along with its
near cousin, H. brachsoma, should make an
interesting addition to your catfish collection.
Horabagrusnigricollaris has of
course now been moved into a new family, Horabagridae,
alongside H. brachysoma.
Kerala, Chalakudy River, 26 km upstream of Chalakudy
town, near Vettilappara.
D. 1, 5; P. 1,8; V. i, 5; A.
iii, 23-26; C. 8+9=17. Median longitudinal groove
on head in a single oval fontanel anteriorly narrow
not extending posteriorly beyond orbit. Occipital
process distinct, extending to basal bone of dorsal
fin. Four pairs of barbels; maxillary extending well
beyond base of pectoral fin, nasals almost to base
of occipital process, outer mandibular to base of
pectoral fin, inner pair much shorter not reaching
pectoral fin base. Branchiostegal rays 10. Rayed dorsal
fin inserted above anterior half of pectoral fin,
spine sharp, with 12-16 serrations along the posterior
margin. Adipose dorsal fin short, well separated from
caudal fin. Pectoral fin not reaching pelvics, spine
with 9 to 11 serrations along outer edge and 13-17
along inner edge. Pelvic fin reaching anal fin origin.
Anal fin long not reaching caudal fin base. Least
height of caudal peduncle 1.0 in its length. Caudal
fin forked, lobes rounded and sub-equal.
Head and body grey/brown,
darker dorsally. Belly white. A black saddle shaped
band edged in white extends from the humeral region
of each side over the back. Caudal fin light yellow
edged in black. Caudal base black. Pectoral and
ventral fins light grey. Dorsal hyaline, dark at
base. Anal and caudal fin edged in black.
Care & Compatibility
This species along with H.
nigricollaris are extremaly nocturnal and would
do better if the aquarium is not too brightly lit,
and you may see them if you feed at night. Will do
well in a larger community tank with other bagrids
such as Pseudomystus
will be predatory on smaller fishes that are even
at the 2 inch (5cm) mark as they will charge into
them at night and stun them, then they will consume
the injured fish, so house with larger barbs and Characins
such as Congo Tetra's that are over this size.
Not reported but females would
probably be more rotund especially in the breeding season.
Will feed mostly at darkness
but if plenty of cover is provided they will dart
out and feed quickly. Worm and tablet foods will all
be taken greedily.
A median bone on the upper surface of the back of the
head; pertaining to the occiput. Branchiostegal: Slender bones which
support the gill membranes.
Taken from Mr. S.L.Hora,
director of Zoological Survey of India + Greek, pagros
= a fish, Dentex sp. nigricollaris:Black collar.
K.C., Catfishes of India, Narendera
Publishing House 2006, p 144-145.