Wertheimeria maculata belongs to the strangest thorny catfishes. You don’t see this on the relatively inconspicuous juveniles with their 6-8 cm length, but it is nevertheless so. The first thing that catches your attention is the really high price that is demanded for them. This is due to the fact that these fish are local endemics and occur exclusively in the Jequitinhonha and Pardo rivers in Brazil, where there is no organized ornamental fishing. The area of occurrence covers more than twice the area of Switzerland, W. maculata is not considered endangered.
Already on the occasion of the first description of the species in 1877 the genus Wertheimeria was established for it, of which it remained the only member until today. The independence of Wertheimeria has never been doubted; within the spiny catfishes (Doradidae) a separate subfamily Wertheimerinae was established for the species and two others (Franciscodoras marmoratus and Kalyptodoras bahiensis).
Adult Wertheimeria maculata are about 30 cm long; then they look spectacular: on a black background the species has large, cream-colored spots. Whoever acquires this species should keep it for himself if possible. Our young animals are compatible with each other. The animals are hiding-loving and mainly nocturnal and are easily disturbed by other species. One hardly gets to see them then. Wertheimeria maculata do not have special demands on water and food, but it goes without saying that they should be kept in aquariums as large as possible with well maintained water and fed with high quality food (mussel meat is ideal, but any commercially available ornamental fish food is accepted) to quickly turn the ugly little duckling into a proud swan.
For our customers: the animals have code 299053 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer