Tag Archive: catfishes

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Mochokidae (Squeakers or Upsidedown Catfishes)

Genus/species: Synodontis nigriventris

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Ground color khaki, small reddish to black dots cover the entire surface. The body is scaleless with large eyes, a large adipose fin, a forked tail, and three pairs of barbels. The head is flattened and the sides of the body are slightly compressed.

Length 9-10 cm (3-4 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Central Congo basin of Africa. Found in freshwater streams in schools of hundreds to thousands.

DIET IN THE WILD: Omnivorous scavenger: Feeds mainly at night on insects, crustaceans and filamentous algae, plant debris, bowels of dead fishes. Grazes algae from undersides of cave ceilings or leaves with its little rasp-like teeth while in the inverted position, a posture also used while gleaning food from the water’s surface. Also locates food on the substrate among debris such as rotting plants.

REPRODUCTION: Egg layers, with the young swimming upside-down after they are approximately 2 months old.


REMARKS: Swimming “upside-down” (ventral toward surface) is normal for adults of this species, which often feed and breathe at the surface. One common name for the family refer to the group’s propensity to make squeaking noises, especially when netted and taken from the water.

CONSERVATION: IUCN least concern 2010


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Water Planet Surviving 2019

ADW https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Synodontis/classification/

IUCN https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/182250/7842677

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157625017923579/with/3400184132/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-11B

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes (Catfish)
Family: Callichthyidae (Callichthyid armored catfishes)

Genus/species: Corydorcas sp.

 Orange Neon Corydoras 3703717946_731674ba1e_b


HABITAT: Fresh water bottom dweller.

DIET IN THE WILD: invertebrates, detritis

REMARKS: All Corys are facultative air breathers, gulping air in oxygen-poor waters absorbing it through its highly vascularized intestine.




California Academy of Sciences, Flooded Rainforest, Cardinal Tetra Exhibit 2018

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157625825649576/with/3703717946/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-18H

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfish)
Family :Pimelodidae (Long-whiskered catfishes)

Genus/species: Phractocephalus hemiliopterus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They are named for their orange-red caudal fin. The snout is rounded with three pairs of barbels around the mouth. The base body color is light black and little dark spots can be seen on the head. A wide, white band extends from the caudal peduncle to the tip of the snout. The belly is black, as are the fins except the upper tip of the dorsal fin which may be orange to red.

Length up to 134 cm (4.5 feet). Weight up to 44 kg (97 lbs)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: P. hemiliopterus is native to South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins. They are found in large freshwater rivers, streams and lakes.

DIET IN THE WILD: Fish, crabs and fruit

REPRODUCTION: They exhibit external fertilization and do not guard the eggs. 

LONGEVITY: Approximately 20 to 30 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list and CITES: Not Evaluated.

REMARKS: P. hemiliopterus has been introduced, but is not established in Florida, perhaps a good thing as the redtail is a voracious predator on smaller fishes. Because of its size it is a popular game fish.

Unfortunately, the Steinhart inhabitants of our open-topped tank have swallowed shoes, cameras, sunglasses, a plastic dinosaur and cell phones, occurrences that have occasionally required manual (and extremely careful) extraction by a biologist or the veterinarian.


fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Phractocephalus-hemioliopterus.html

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest Docent Training Class 2014

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3313914505/in/set-72157620568438047/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-91

EOL eol.org/pages/344961/details

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfishes)
Family: Doradidae (Thorny catfishes)

Genus/species: Oxydoras niger

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  A stocky brown catfish with three pairs of barbels.  Like all members of their family, have bony plates that protect the head and hook-like scutes that run along the lateral line. The Scutes on the O. niger are sharp and can cause significant lacerations.

Length up to 1 m (3.3 ft) in length and weigh up to 14 kg (30 lbs)

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: South America: Amazon and possibly Orinoco River basins. Occur over mud in streams and lakes.

DIET IN THE WILD: The Ripsaw Catfishes large mouth creates a suction to vacuum up detritus, insect larvae, crustaceans, and plant material. When the forest is flooded, they feed exclusively on seeds and fruit.

REPRODUCTION: Sexes separate. Fertilization is external. Adults are non-guarders.


REMARKS: Members of the family Doradidae are known as “talking catfishes” as they make a strange, creaking noise when removed from the water., a sound produced by movement of the pectoral spine within its socket and amplified by the swim bladder.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

Animal Diversity Web ADW animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Oxydoras_niger/

 fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Oxydoras-niger.html

 Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/6181844571/in/set-72157620568438047/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-96



Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum

Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes (Catfish) > Pimelodidae (Long-whiskered catfishes)

DISTRIBUTION: South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins.

HABITAT: Riverbeds, shady streams, flooded forest areas.

APPEARANCE: Elongated, streamlined body with long snout; large mouth with three pairs of long barbels. Black spots and stripes on body and fins in irregular pattern; the pattern is banded, thus the common name. Usually silver to brown above; white to silver below.  Can grow to 90 cm or more in captivity.

DIET: Nocturnal hunter; feeds on fish and crabs.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: Separate sexes, external fertilization. Does not guard eggs.

REMARKS: Venomous spines.

Prized as food and game fish, and often found in South American food markets. Flesh is succulent.

WORDPRESS SHORTLINK: http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-8W

LOCATION; Flooded Amazon Tunnel

%d bloggers like this: