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Entomocorus gameroi  Mago-Leccia, 1984    


his genera of the Auchenipteridae family contains four species, two which have recently been described in this century (2003 and 2006) and two which have been around since there description in 1917 and 1984 but not seen very often in the hobby but popular with catfish aficionados when purchased.



Entomocorus gameroi


Entomocorus gameroi



The four mentioned are our factsheet of the month (March 2017) Entomocorus gameroi  Mago-Leccia, 1984, Entomocorus benjamini Eigenmann, 1917, Entomocorus melaphareus Akama & Ferraris, 2003 and Entomocorus radiosus Reis & Borges, 2006.


They are widely distributed in lowland cis-Andean South America. Entomocorus benjamini is found in the Madeira River, E. gameroi occurs in the Orinoco River, E. melaphareus is from the lower Amazon River, and a previously undescribed species, E. radiosus, inhabits the upper Paraguay River. Entomocorus is diagnosed based on the shared presence of eight synapomorphies.



Entomocorus gameroi = head view


Entomocorus gameroi - head view


Entomocorus is related to the genera Auchenipterus, Centromochlus, and Trachycorystes. The common name of E. gameroi of Penguin Woodcat relates to the markings on the caudal fin reminiscent of the Penguin Tetra, Thayeria boehlkei although the black band occurs in the top half of the caudal fin in E. gameroi.




The top of the head is hard, reticulated or pitted, and the posterior margin of the occipital is bordered with a deep groove. The maxillary barbels are wiry at the base, fitted into a groove at the lower margin of the large eye, and extend to the tips of the ventral fins or to the the origin of the anal fin. E. gameroi has a broad, nearly horizontal stripe of dark pigmentation that extends from the base to the tip of the upper lobe of the caudal fin. In addition, the lateral surfaces of the body of E. melaphaereus and E. benjamini has little, if any dark pigmentation, whereas E. gameroi sometimes has irregular blotches of dark pigmentation and, often a dark midlateral stripe.


Males develop increased dark pigment along the lateral line and broadening of the band in the lower lobe of the caudal fin (see Sexual Differences below).

Aquarium Care

Provide sand or smooth gravel as a substrate, driftwood and plants for hiding places. Can be found sleeping on its side during the day in plant coverage or on the substrate given the sometimes common name of "Sleeping Catfish".



Can be kept with most fish that are not too small as this family will predate on fry and small fishes at night although generally a peaceful species. Better to keep in a small group which will make them happier in an aquarium set-up.


In its natural habitat they spawn in July and August which is the period of maximal annual flooding.

Sexual Differences

The dorsal fin spine of the male becomes longer and curves anteriorly slightly in the middle and distal part. The serrations become irregular and new ones appear at the posterior edge. The pectoral spines of the male become excessively elongate, almost twice their former length, and become broader. In the anal fin of the male there is a reduction of the length of the base; the first three fusing into a plate-like structure with strong surfaces for muscle attachment; and the margin of the fin becomes concave changing from convex in normal males). The second ray of the males left pectoral fin develops a kind of hook, and the second ray of the females right pectoral fin develops some serrations. The bony part part of the maxillary barbels of the male, normally almost half their length, become excessively enlarged. These barbels become transformed into two "cachos" giving the male a distinctive aspect. A pseudopenis is developed; it is short, made up of soft tissue, and positionally separated from the anal (not functionally). In other auchenipterterids it can be very large.



Not a fussy eater. Mosquito larvae, artemia, flakefood, tablet and pellet foods. Inactive during the day so would need feeding at night but as aquarists know this family will find food that has been left during daytime feedings.

Glossary of Terms

Occipital process: A median bone on the upper surface of the back of the head; pertaining to the occiput.
Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.

Caudal: The tail.

Ventral fins: The paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins.
Anal fin: The median, unpaired, ventrally located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior half of the fish.
Maxillary: Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels).

Pectoral fin: The paired fins just behind the head.


Entomocorus: Greek; entome, meaning notch, and kore, meaning pupil; in reference to the deep groove at the lower margin of the eye in which the maxillary barbels fit into.


Burgess, W.E. 1989 An atlas of freshwater and marine catfishes. A preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey (USA). 784 p.
Yann Fulliquet (pers.comm)
Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl, 1991. Aquarien atlas. Bd. 3. Melle: Mergus, Verlag für Natur-und Heimtierkunde, Germany. 1104 p.
Reis, R.E. and T.A.K. Borges, 2006. The South American catfish genus Entomocorus (Ostariophysi: Siluriformes: Auchenipteridae), with the description of a new species from the Paraguay River Basin. Copeia 2006(3):412-422.

Photo Credits

© Michael Kirkham

Factsheet 249

Common Name:
Gamero's Woodcat, Penguin Woodcat
Venezuela: Apure River basin in Orinoco River drainage. Type locality: Boca del Río Apurito en el Río Apuré, cercade San Fernando de Apuré, Guárico State, Venezuela.
7.0cm. (2¾ins)
25-29°c (77-85°f.) 
6.0 - 7.5
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