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Leptodoras linnelli  Eigenmann, 1912

he month of October 2015 brings us to the Doradidae family and to a little known genera, namely Leptodoras. This is not your usual hardy and bomb proof Dorad that you don't see for months on end only to spot it one night with a huge girth and a size to match, no this genera usually known as mouse cats are a different kettle of fish, so to speak.

Leptodoras linnelli


This very pretty and unusual species demands good water quality and water flow throughout the aquarium. A sand substrate with branches and rockwork as cover to make them feel secure in their own surroundings. The overhead lighting should not be too bright and a dark corner in the tank would be a good idea for a retreat. A lower temperature around the 18-22°C (64-72°F) mark as they do not take kindly to long periods with high temperatures as in their natural habitat they are found in deep waters with low light.


Unlike some of the more common Dorads the Mouse cats like their own company, so if you can afford a large tank over 4ft, three or four individuals is a good benchmark to aim for.



Postorbital length 37.6–41.8% of predorsal distance…..Leptodoras linnelli


Postorbital length 37.6–41.8% of predorsal distance…..Leptodoras linnelli


The most characteristic feature of this species is the structure of the barbels which readily distiguish Leptodoras from similar genera, Opsodoras and Hassar.


Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 6; Anal soft rays: 12 - 16. Upper labial extension very elongate, straight to weakly curved medially and nearly uniform in width with a bluntly rounded tip. Body moderately elongate and slender with a single series of 38-39 bony plates down each side of body. Snout fairly long and roughly conical. The barbels form a complex structure. The maxillary barbels divides into a short simple process and a longer branched process. The two pairs of mental barbels also have a short, fringed edge.

Upper half of body light brown/yellow, darkening dorsally. Lower half creamy white. Two dusky bands in the caudal fin.

Aquarium Care

Best kept in a group in a tank of 48ins or over with a sand substrate, rock and branchwork. Floating plants is a good addition to cut down on the overhead light.


Peaceful and will do well alongside species such as Geophagus Cichlids and other larger Characins that will appreciate flowing water.

There are no documented records

Sexual differences
As with most other species of catfish the males tend to be more slender than the females.

Insect larvae,, frozen foods, mosquito larvae and shrimp.

Glossary of Terms

Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.

Maxillary barbels: Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels).

Mental barbels: Pertaining to the chin, on the lower jaw. (mental barbels)

Caudal fin: The tail.

Anal fin: The median, unpaired, ventrally located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior half of the fish.


Leptodorus: Greek, leptos = thin + Greek, doras = skin


CAGB magazine no. 41 January 1984.
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
Froese, R. and D. Pauly
. Editors. 2008.FishBase.World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (02/2009).

Photo Credits

Top: © Richard A. Smith


Bottom: © Mark Sabaj Pérez @All Catfish Species Inventory

Factsheet 232

Leptodoras acipenserinus, Hemidoras linnelli
Common Name:
Elongate Mouse Catfish
South America: Upper Orinoco (rios Ventuari and Mavaca) and Casiquiare River basin in Venezuela; Atlantic Coast drainages of the Guianas and northern Brazil such as Essequibo, Demerara and Araguari); the rios Uatumã, Tacutu and Demini in Brazil.
23cm. (9ins)
18-22°C (64-72°F)   
6.0 - 7.0.
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                                                                                                                                        Factsheet no 232 = updated December 14, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top