n the occasion of our
201st factsheet on ScotCat, eminent catfish author and enthusiast,
Steven Grant has returned to pen a factsheet on one of
the more overlooked catfish families. namely the South American
family Trichomycteridae, which are commonly known as Parasitic
Cats or by the local indigenous populations as "candiru".
Over to Steve for his summary on the identification of Ituglanis
was described from “Cudajas, Brazil”, which could
be Codajás, a municipality on the Amazon River. There is
also a lake called Lago Badajós which used to be referred
to as Lago Cudajas, and this is northwest of the municipality.
The specimen pictured here was one of a
number that were imported from Rio Amazonas in Peru. The colour
is a little faded due to it being photographed freshly imported.
Galvis et al (2006), Mol (2012) and Le Bail, Keith and Planquette
(2000) report it from Colombia (Amazon River), and Suriname and
French Guyana respectively.
I originally thought they were I. laticeps (Kner, 1863)
but after checking the description it states there were no markings
on the fins of the type specimens. Datavo (2013, personal communication)
indicated that the specimen has the right number of pectoral fin
rays ( I + 5) for I. amazonicus and despite it not matching
the colour and pattern given for that species in Datavo and Landim
(2005), this specimen exhibits one of a variation of patterns
in I. amazonicus. Some I. amazonicus have a
very faded pattern with very few or small spots but the two patterns
can be found within one population of the same species. Furthermore
adult I. laticeps have the pattern shown here and it
may be a junior synonym of I. amazonicus.
These are sometimes sold or seen as I.
metae but that species has a more rounded caudal fin (albeit
that us not always a reliable indicator as the fin can often be
damaged) and also has one more pectoral fin ray (I + 6). I.
guayaberensis (Dahl, 1960) also has a similar pattern but
that species has even more pectoral fin rays (I + 8). Both I.
metae and I. guayaberensis come from further north,
in the Orinoco system in Colombia.
Despite their inclusion in the family commonly
called ‘parasitic catfish’ so far reports of behaviour
in aquariums are that they are peaceful towards other fish, and
usually to each other. However, there has been one report of some
specimens being attacked and ostracised from the group, with bite
marks on the body and fins.
They like to hide during the daylight hours
so something like a cave, thick plants, or wool mops should be
They will sometimes feed in daylight hours
but to make sure they are getting adequately fed, you should add
some food after lights out. They will eat bloodworm, tubifex,
and earthworms chopped into small pieces.
Long, cylindrical body. Three pairs of barbels.
Pectoral fin with I + 5 rays. Light greyish to light orange / brown
base colour with greenish to brown spots of different sizes and
Light greyish to light orange / brown base
colour with greenish to brown spots of different sizes and distribution.
Fins speckled with same colour.
Generally peaceful but can sometimes fight
amongst each other.
As yet unknown.
There are no proven
external sexual differences, but females are probably more
robust in the body.
Readily accepts all manner of live/frozen
itys, ityos = circle in Greek; glanis = a fish that can
eat the bait without touching the hook; a catfish in Greek.
amazonicus : From the Amazon River
1960. Nematognathous fishes collected during the Macarena
Expedition 1959. Part I. Novedades Colombianas v. 1 (no.
Datovo, A. and M. I. Landim,
2005. Ituglanis macunaima, a new catfish from rio Araguaia
basin, Brazil (Siluriformes, Trichomycteridae). Neotropical
Ichthyology v. 3 (no. 4): 455-464.
Eigenmann, C. H.,
1917. Descriptions of sixteen new species of Pygidiidae.
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society v. 56:
Eschmeyer, W. N.
(ed). Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences.
Electronic version accessed 24 February 2013.
Galvis, G. et al,
2006. Peces del medio Amazonas – Region de Leticia.
Kner, R. and F. Steindachner,
1864. Neue Gattungen und Arten von Fischen aus Central-Amerika;
gesammelt von Prof. Moritz Wagner. Abhandlungen der Bayerische
Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mathematisch-Physikalische
Classe, München. v. 10 (1. abth.): 1-61, Pls. 1-6.
Le Bail, P.-Y. , P. Keith and P. Planquette,
2000. Atlas des poissons d'eau douce de Guyane. Tome 2 -
fascicule II. Siluriformes. 1-307.
Mol, J.H.A., 2012.
The Freshwater Fishes of Suriname. 1-889.
Morris, P.J., M.H. Sabaj,
and C. Hoeflich. 2004. All Catfish Project Support
Site. [WWW image database] URL https://acsi.acnatsci.org.
1882. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Flussfische Südamerikas.
IV. [With 3 subtitles.]. Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen
Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche
Classe. v. 46 (1 Abth.) (in 1883): 1-44, Pls. 1-7.
fin: The tail.
Synonym: Different name for the same fish.
Pectoral fin: The paired fins just behind
Barbels: Whisker-like structure on the
heads of most catfish.