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Tatia gyrina (Eigenmann & Allen, 1942)     

his species from the Auchenipteridae family was known for many years as Tatia creutzbergi. It was originally described by Eigenmann & Allen in 1942 as Centromochlus gyrinus based on a single specimen from Iquitos, Peru. Nearly a decade latter, Boeseman (1953) described Centromochlus creutzbergi based on a specimen from Suriname, but without a comparison to Centromochlus gyrinus. Mees in 1974 transferred both species to the genus Tatia, based on similarities in fin ray counts and the shape of the adipose fin. For many years the Amazonian T. gyrina was known only from its holotype. The holotype of T. gyrina is old and has lost its colour. The specimen, however, is a mature male, with a modified anal fin that is similar in appearance to the anal fin of specimens from Suriname identified as T. creutzbergi.


Tatia gyrina

Recent sampling of Amazon igarapés has made available more specimens, including adults, which has allowed for a more detailed morphological comparison of Amazon and Suriname populations. The new material indicates that T. creutzbergi from Suriname and T. gyrina from the Amazon are morphologically very similar and hereby considered conspecific under the older name of Tatia gyrina. (Soares et.al.)

This is a very nicely marked small species which is not that common in the hobby. In the Amazon populations, however, the dark stripe is interrupted in some specimens, whereas in all Suriname specimens examined the dark stripe is always present and conspicuous. In some Suriname specimens the pelvic-fin base has a characteristic darkened area, with paired brown spots. These markings are especially obvious in specimens recently captured.




Tatia gyrina (showing close up of the dark brown lateral stripe)



Available field data indicate these catfish typically occur in water with low pH, low conductivity and low level of dissolved oxygen (J. Zuanon & H. Nijssen).


Note: In some quarters Tatia creutzbergi ( from Suriname) is not viewed as a junior synonym of T. gyrina and is held up as a species in its own right.

8-11 anal fin rays; pectoral fin rays 1,4; dorsal and pectoral fin spines with well developed teeth and hooks; upper surface of head and nuchal region covered with bony plates; caudal fin shallowly forked.

Body colouration diagnostic with upper surface of heads and back dull brown and sides longitudinally marbled brown and white, a conspicuous broad blackish longitudinal band on the sides.

Aquarium Care

Good filtration with a moving surface are recommended to keep the oxygen levels high. Peaceful species that will hide away during the day. Best kept in small groups.


Give them small pipes, and they do seem to like to hide in the crevices of bogwood as well. They appear to be happier if they can jam themselves in with the use of their pectoral fins. Community tanks are fine for this species, they come well recommended but don't expect to see them too often.

Internal fertilisation. The female usually place its adhesive eggs on the underside of wood with no broodcare after the event.

Sexual Differences

The anal fin is the key to the sexual dimorphism of this genus, if you think of the male and female of most livebearer fish (Goodeidae family) and you will not be too far away with this assumption. The female has a normal anal fin but the males are modified into a copulatory organ with the first and second ray thickened and longer, it is thought that the male uses this to clasp the female during the spawning embrace.


In its native habitat they feed on small invertebrates and crustaceans and in the aquarium they will eat anything given such as frozen bloodworm inserted in to their hideaway, catfish tablets, white worm (sparingly) and prawns and shrimp. They do like their food and you can see them shooting out of their hideouts and swimming in a frenzied manner to try and take all for themselves, especially when you feed them their favourite food, frozen bloodworm.

Glossary of Terms

Caudal fin: The tail.

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

Anal fin: The median, unpaired, ventrally located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior half of the fish.
Nuchal: Area between the skull and dorsal fin.
Pectoral fins: The paired fins just behind the head.



Tatia: In honour of Mr. C. Tate Regan.

Sarmento-Soares, Luisa Maria; Martins-Pinheiro, Ronaldo Fernando A systematic revision of  Tatia (Siluriformes: Auchenipteridae: Centromochlinae) Neotropical Ichthyology, 6(3):495- 542, 2008.
Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl, 1991. Aquarien atlas. Bd. 3. Melle: Mergus, Verlag für Natur-und Heimtierkunde, Germany. 1104 p.
Mol, H.A. Jan, The Freshwater Fishes of Suriname. BRILL, Leiden Boston, 2012. 889 p.

Photo Credits
© Ian Fuller @CorydorasWorld

Factsheet 236

Centromochlus gyrinus, Tatia creutzbergi, Centromochlus creutzbergi
Common Name:
South America: upper and central Amazon, in Peru, Colombia and Brazil. It is also found in rivers of northern Suriname. Type locality: Rio Itaya, Iquitos, Peru (type locality of T. creutzbergi is Djaikreek, Suriname River system, Suriname)
5.0cm. (2ins)
21-24°c (69-75°f.) 
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