the last month of 2010 we have a guest factsheet contributor
in Adrian Taylor who is a member of the Catfish
Study Group. We welcome
him here to do a piece on what is not a particularly
common member of the Loricariidae, the small but perfectly
formed Schizolecis guntheri.
This is a small
brown coloured member of the Loricariidae family that
grows no larger than 40mm (SL) and is found in shallow
clear water rivers of the Atlantic rainforest, Sao
Paulo State, Brazil. It has quite large eyes that
are positioned high up on the head, a rounded snout
and a sucker like mouth. Along the body there are
parallel rows of odontodes; in small specimens there
appears to be minuscule adontodes on the anterior
edge of the pectoral fin spine; it might be possible
that when they are in breeding condition these adontodes
are more pronounced in the males than in the females.
On the whole S
guntheri is a herbivore, with plant and algae
matter making up for the majority of its diet, with
less than 3% of stomach contents examined being made
up of small nematodes, rotifers and diatoms.
In the shallow
streams and rivers where S guntheri is found the substrate
in predominately sand. Water temperature is not critical,
however temperatures around 23°C (73°f) would
seem to suit them best; although it is reported that
at times in the early part of the year the rivers
and streams where they are found can reach temperatures
of around 28°C (82°f). However, these small
rivers and streams are reported to have quite a flow
to them, which suggest that they have an high oxygen
content, so plenty or aeration to their aquarium is
There is a report
on an albino specimen of Schizolecis guntheri
caught in the rio Bonito in the rio Macaé basin,
Rio de Janeiro State, southeastern Brazil. The hypothesis
that albinism is more common in fishes with cryptobiotic
and/or nocturnal habits is strengthened by additional
records of this chromatic anomaly.
South eastern. Type
locality: Praia do Piraíque, Ilha
de São Sebastião, Estado de São
Short depressed body. The head
is depressed, its snout tip formed by a series of
small platelets bearing small spines, similar to those
of the head. The orbit is almost superior, and there
are two preorbital plates. The abdomen is naked except
for a few scattered platelets. There are 23 to 26
perforated plates along the lateral line.
There is no adipose fin and
the swim bladder is well developed.
Body brown with three paler
brown to gold blotches over the back.
Three lines of light brown to gold spots from the
caudal peduncle to the insertion of the dorsal fin.
There is a light brown to gold line running from each
eye down to the snout in well marked specimens. A
large gold diamond shaped blotch ringed with brown
adorns the caudal peduncle. This species has a variable
Care and Compatibility
In its natural habitat S.
guntheri is found alongside fishes such as Scleromystax
barbatus, Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus
and Poecilia vivipara, so these or similar
fishes would make suitable tank mates.
have a urogenital papilla.
In its natural habitat it grazes
on microscopic algae, mostly diatoms and green algae
growing on rocks and submersed vegetation; occasionally
takes chironomid and simuliid larvae.
guntheri:In honour of Albert C. L. G. Guenther,
the German ichthyologist, (1830-1914).
fin: Fleshy finlike
projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin. Caudal peduncle: The
area between the dorsal fin and the tail.
Lateral line:A sensory
line, along the sides of the body. Orbit:
The dermal or bony eye socket;
bony cavity in the skull where the eyeball is housed;
the eye socket, usually surrounded by bone. Preorbital: The
first and usually the largest of the suborbital bones;
located along the ventro-anterior rim of the eye. Sometimes
called the lacrimal bone; the bone or region before
and below the eye. Swim
bladder: The air sac that gives fish buoyancy
and balance. Acts as sound resonator in some fish.
H.A. and J.C. Garavello 1984 Two new southeastern
Brazilian genera of Hypoptopomatinae and a redescription
of Pseudotocinclus Nichols, 1919 (Ostariophysi, Loricariidae).
Pap. Avulsos Dep. Zool. São Paulo 35(21):225-241.
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.
Marcelo F. G. de Brito and Érica P. Caramaschi;2005, An albino armored catfish Schizolecis
guntheri (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from an Atlantic
Forest coastal basin.