Schizolecis guntheri (Miranda
n 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
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.
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 design.
In the wild 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.
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.
have a urogenital papilla.
G. de Brito and Érica P. Caramaschi;
2005, An albino armored catfish Schizolecis guntheri
(Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from an Atlantic Forest coastal
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).
Britski, 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
: In honour of
Albert C. L. G. Guenther, the German ichthyologist, (1830-1914).
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.
Lateral line: A sensory line, along the
sides of the body.
Caudal peduncle: The
area between the dorsal fin and the tail.
bladder: The air sac that gives fish buoyancy and
balance. Acts as sound resonator in some fish.
Fleshy finlike projection without
rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
dermal or bony eye socket; bony cavity in the skull where
the eyeball is housed; the eye socket, usually surrounded