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Schizolecis guntheri (Miranda Ribeiro, 1918)

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.



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.


Schizolecis guntheri



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 recommended.


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.


Not reported.

Sexual differences
Males 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.


Marcelo F. G. de Brito and Érica P. Caramaschi; 2005, An albino armored catfish Schizolecis guntheri (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from an Atlantic Forest coastal basin.
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.
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 35(21):225-241.


guntheri : In honour of Albert C. L. G. Guenther, the German ichthyologist, (1830-1914).

Glossary of Terms

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.
Lateral line: A sensory line, along the sides of the body.
Caudal peduncle:
The area between the dorsal fin and the tail.
Swim bladder: The air sac that gives fish buoyancy and balance. Acts as sound resonator in some fish.
Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Orbit: The dermal or bony eye socket; bony cavity in the skull where the eyeball is housed; the eye socket, usually surrounded by bone.


Photo Credits

© Adrian Taylor

Factsheet 174

Microlepidogaster guntheri, Pseudotocinclus ribeiroi
Common Name:


Brazil Brazil: South eastern. Type locality: Praia do Piraíque, Ilha de São Sebastião, Estado de São Paulo.  
4.0cm. (1½ins)
23-27°c (73-81°f.)
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                                                                                                     Factsheet 174 = updated December 16, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018  Go to Top