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Ossancora punctata (Kner, 1853)

an sometimes be seen, and sold as Opsodoras stuebelii, which has a longer snout and lacks the body spots and also grows larger. It has been misidentified, especially in the mid 1980s in the hobby when catfish were just beginning to get a fan base in the U. K. It is also very like Ossancora eigenmanni which has a spotted caudal fin against O. punctata which has dark stripes.

Ossancora punctata

Was known until recently (2011) as Doras punctatus until a new paper by Birindelli, JLO and MH Sabaj Pérez (2011) asigned a new genera, Ossancora to this species. Ossancora was proposed to include three previously named species O.eigenmanni, O. fimbriata plus one new species in O. asterophysa. The four species are distinguished from each other by the branching on the maxillary and mandibular barbels, the morphologies of the swimbladder and bony plates in front of the dorsal fin, and the number of teeth on the upper and lower jaws.


This genus along with Agamyxis and Acanthodoras can create a sound by grating its fin bones in each socket and amplifying the noise via the swim bladder. The image below shows the extent of its barbels and why it gots its common name of the "Feather Barbels Catfish", In fact the mandibular barbels put you in mind of the African catfish genus, Synodontis.

Ossancora punctata  = view of barbels

This is a catfish that is mainly easy to maintain and is very active but good water quality is important i.e. keeping up water changes, as it will rarely thrive in poor water conditions. A sand substrate with a mixture of driftwood and plants will make this species feel secure in its suroundings. The aquarium lighting should not be too bright.



The head is longer than the width with the characteristic small mid-lateral scutes of this genus, along the sides of the body. Three pair of barbels with the maxillary barbels long and feathered. The bone coracoides is exposed and forms a closed arc, and has the same length than the humeral process (processo post-cleitral). The Process post cleitral has a rectangular form and the lateral shields covers between 1/3 and 1/5 on the surface of the flanks.

Brown body with scattered small black spots. Irregular spots in the dorsal fin and the belly is white overall. Depending on the colour of the substate they will apear to be either a dark or a lighter brown.


Very peaceful addition to a community aquarium. This is another doradid that prefers safety in numbers assuming that you can purchase them. Recommended that you keep at least 4 specimens together.


Not recorded.

Sexual differences
Females are slightly larger than males.

Finely shredded shrimp and bloodworm. Tablet and flake foods.


Sabaj, M.H. and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. 2003 Doradidae (Thorny catfishes). p. 456-469. In: R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. (eds.) Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, Brasil.
Sands, David; Back to Nature Guide to Catfishes. 1996. p. 60-61. 128 p.
ScotCat Article: The Family Doradidae or "Talking Catfishes" 
Conservación Internacional; seris de Guías Tropicales De Campo. Pecos del medio Amazonas Región de Leticia. 546 p.
Birindelli, JLO and MH Sabaj Pérez (2011) Ossancora, new genus of thorny catfish (Teleostei: Siluriformes: Doradidae) with description of one new species. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 161, pp. 117–152.


Ossancora: Meaning "bony anchor" which refers to their distinctive pectoral-fin spine and shoulder girdle.

punctata: From the Latin punctatus = 'spotted'.

Photo Credits
Top image:     ©  Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library

Bottom image ©  Yann Fulliquet
Factsheet 171

Common Name:
Feather Barbels Catfish


South America: Amazon River and Paraná-Paraguay River drainages.
11cm. (4¼ins)
22-25°C (71-77°F)  
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                                                                                                   Factsheet 171 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top