Aphanotorulus sp. L11

18. June 2021

The correct name of this beautiful catfish from the Rio Xingu is a matter of dispute among experts. In many parts of South America similar looking catfishes can be found, which are all close to the species already described in 1840 as Hypostomus emarginatus. These were assigned to the genus Squaliforma in 2001, and to the genus Aphanotorulus in 2016. There are also some L-numbers: L11 (Rio Xingu, Brazil), L108 (Ecuador, Rio Napo), L116 (Rio Trombetas, Brazil), L131 (Rio Tapajós, Brazil), and L153 (Venezuela).

Nathan Lujan wrote us: “All the members of the Hypostomus emarginatus “group” were pretty well resolved in our paper where we identified that they were actually in Aphanotorulus. Even though the type location is only listed as the Amazon, we showed that it likely came from the lower Amazon. Figure 8 in our paper is a distribution map for A. emarginatus, which shows the lower Amazon and its major tributaries plus the Essiquibo. The likely sister species is A. horridus, found in the upper Amazon, basically upstream of its confluence with the Rio Negro. Figure 12 in our paper is it’s distribution map. Here’s the link to the paper: https://www.mapress.com/…/view/zootaxa.4072.5.1/4170

L11 is a wonderful large catfish for appropriate aquariums with fish from the Rio Xingu. In cichlid tanks it is an excellent algae eater. On the one hand it can take a poke, but on the other hand it is peaceful against conspecifics as well as against other fish. Fish from the Rio Xingu should be kept warm, 26-30°C correspond to the natural conditions. Under such conditions L11 can grow up to 40 cm long and live in the aquarium for decades.

For our customers: the animals have code 26480-L 011-5 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply only wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer