Chaetostoma dorsale (L147, L443)

2. October 2023

The bristlemouth catfish (Chaetostoma) are an exceptionally diverse genus of suckermouth armored catfishes. According to Fishbase (2023), 47 species are currently considered valid. From Colombia, more precisely from the surroundings of the city of Villavicencio, the capital of the department of Meta, Chaetostoma have been exported for decades as common “bread-and-butter fish”. However, it was and still is difficult to identify them.

Recently (January 2021) the scientific description of a new Chaetostoma species (C. chimu) was published, to which also an actual identification key for the Cis-Andine (= east of the Andes) species of the genus from the tributaries of the Orinoco and the Amazon is attached. According to this identification key the presented Chaetostoma from Colombia with white dots on the head is C. dorsale, a species already described in 1922.

In the hobby Chaetostoma with white dots on the head is generally called L188, even though it is known among specialists for a long time that there are several species with white dots on the head and L188 strictly speaking applies only to one species from Venezuela (surroundings of the city of Valencia), which is commonly regarded as Chaetostoma nudirostre.

Chaetostoma dorsale got the L-number 147 for a short time in 1994. Unfortunately this L-number was given again due to a mistake (to a Peckoltia species that carries the number to this day) and C. dorsale got a new one with L443 in 2010. It can be assumed that fishes offered as “L188” from Colombia are in reality C. dorsale. 

Chaetostoma dorsale grows 10-12 cm long and can be kept at water temperatures between 23 and 27°C. It is a good algae eater, but needs a lot of oxygen and should therefore be kept in strongly filtered and aerated aquaria. Basically the species can be classified as peaceful, but the immediate area around the preferred hiding place (often under a flat stone or a root on the bottom) is defended emphatically.

For our customers: the animals have code 214752 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer


Urbano-Bonilla, A. & G. A. Ballen (2021): A new species of Chaetostoma (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the Orinoco basin with comments on Amazonian species of the genus in Colombia. Journal of Fish Biology v. 98 (no. 4): 1091-1104