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Microglanis cottoides (Boulenger, 1891)

e are back to the South American sub-continent for this months factsheet (October 2014) with a second look (first April 2014, M. iheringi) at these members of the Pseudopimelodidae family. Pseudopimelodinae is now of course considered a full family status and is closely related to the Pimelodidae family and as such mostly contains the smaller pims, such as the South American Bumblebee and dwarf marbled catfishes.


Microglanis cottoides


Microglanis cottoides


There can be confusion between members of this genera, Microglanis poecilus, M. secundus, M. iheringi and M. parahybae. There are diferences in colour patterns, especially on the caudal peduncle, caudal fin and anal fin areas.



M. poecilus
M. poecilus
M. iheringi
M. iheringi
M. parahybae
M. parahybae
M. secundus
M. secundus

Microglanis cottoides - caudal fin view


Microglanis cottoides - caudal and anal fin view


Among the known species in this genera, Microglanis cottoides (Boulenger 1891) is especially interesting for phylogeographic and genetic population studies, owing to its geographical distribution in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, being present in the Uruguay River basin and along the eastern coast of Brazil, with records of their occurrence in drainages across the southern and southeastern regions (Malabarba & Mahler, 1998; Shibatta, 2003b, 2007; Mori & Shibatta, 2006). These regions can be considered of great biogeographical significance, not only for the high degree of endemism of its fish fauna (Bizerril, 1994, 1995), but also for being a very populated area with high environmental degradation due to human activities.


A note from Gareth Savage who keeps this species. "They will not share a hide with anything. I've witnessed them chasing each other around but never locking jaws like M. heringi do. The weirdest thing I've noticed is the dominant fish in the tank shows the most colour just like with cichlids. I've kept small fish in the tank with them and they have been left alone. I think they like to be fed rather than hunt there food, though this would be with caution."


To sum up, a very nice looking pim, while being very nocturnal, but being able to see them on the odd occasion makes up for the weeks that you thought you had lost it, and so a nice addition to a medium sized community tank.




Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 6; Anal soft rays: 9 - 12; Vertebrae: 30. Distinguished from M. parahybae and M. cibelae by the longer head (29.3-33.8% SL, versus 23.2-27.6 and 25.6-31.1 respectively) and wide body (28.5-33.9% SL versus 23.8-27.7 and 25.4-29.8, respectively). The smaller mouth width distinguish this species from M. eurystoma (50.6-64.3% HL, versus 67.3-84.4).

Dark brown markings on a light brown background. The area of dark brown colour on the caudal peduncle is crescent shaped. Dorsal fin clear with a dark brown band. The caudal fin has a dark brown cross band. Anal fin sports a dark brown cross band.

Aquarium Care

Hiding places such as rockwork, plants and or wood will benefit this species and help, along with regular water changes, to keep this it happy in its surroundings



Microglanis cottoides is one of twenty six, small to medium sized pims, found in this family, and as such is a good addition to the medium sized community tank, and will not harm the occupants unless they are small enough to fit into its mouth such as newly born fry and young fish..



Not reported.

Sexual Differences

Males are slimmer than females.



Can be fed a varied diet of tablet food, pellets, worm foods and frozen food such as bloodworm.

Glossary of Terms

Dorsal spines: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Pectoral fin: The paired fins just behind the head.
Anal fin
: The median, unpaired, ventrally located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior half of the fish.


Microglanis: Micro = small; glanis = catfish.


Malabarba, L.R. and J.K.F. Mahler Jr., 1998. Review of the genus Microglanis in the rio Uruguay and coastal drainages of southern Brazil (Ostariophysi: Pimelodidae). Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwat. 9(3):243-254.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2016.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, ( 06/2016 )
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.

Souza-Shibatta, Lenice, Ferreira, Dhiego Gomes, Oliveira, Claudio, Almeida, Fernanda Simões de, Shibatta, Oscar Akio, & Sofia, Silvia Helena. (2013). Development and characterization of microsatellite loci of Microglanis cottoides (Siluriformes: Pseudopimelodidae) and cross-species amplification. Neotropical Ichthyology, 11(3), 581-585. https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-62252013000300011
Gareth Savage: pers. comm.

Photo Credits

Allan James @ ScotCat

Factsheet 256

Pimelodus cottoides
Common Name:
South America: Laguna dos Patos and rio Uruguay drainages in Brazil. Type Locality: Rio Camaquã, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
9.0cm. (3½ins)
21-25°C (69-77°F)
6.0 - 7.5.
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