The representatives of the genus Aspidoras are popularly also called loach armored catfishes, which is quite a good description. Because the animals are slimmer and more scurrying, than one is generally used to from Corydoras. With 25 species recognized so far, the genus is quite species rich. Their identification is difficult for non-specialists, because species diagnoses are often based on skeletal features, which are not visible without elaborate preparation of preserved specimens. That is why there was quite a lot of confusion about the correct naming for a long time. Just now, when we have received wild catches of an Aspidoras species again for a long time, a revision of the genus came out as well. With this the identification of the animals sent as Aspidoras rochai from the Brazilian state of Ceará should be possible without any problems – we thought!
Unfortunately we thought wrong. First a short overview, how the genus is represented after the current revision. Tencatt et al. accept only 18 species, among them one newly described. A. pauciradiatus was (provisionally) transferred to Corydoras, C. virgulatus to Scleromystax. The aquaristic – at least by name – known species A. eurycephalus and A. taurus were declared synonyms of A. albater. A. albater now also includes the “Black Phantom” or C35. A. menezesi and A. spilotus now belong to A. raimundi, A. microgaleus and A. marianae to A. poecilus.
Our fish from Ceará corresponded quite well to the preserved specimen of A. rochai from the Amsterdam Museum illustrated in the book by Evers and Fuller “Identifying Corydoradinae Catfish”. But in the revision by Tencatt et al. one learns that at the time of manuscript publication only two doubtless specimens of A. rochai were known, namely the almost completely decolorized type specimens from the Zoological Museum of the University Sao Paulo. So what are our fishes now? In my distress I turned to Hans-Georg Evers and he wrote me: “You have Aspidoras raimundi. In Ceará there are two species, besides A. raimundi from the Parnaiba drainage also A. rochai from the Jaguaribe drainage, mountain range of Guaramiranga (type locality of A. rochai). …. Your animals are imported regularly, sometimes as A. spilotus, sometimes as C125, both synonyms to A. raimundi. The elongated body is typical, the pattern is highly variable.” A thousand thanks to Hans for the valuable information!
Aspidoras raimundi is an easy to care, very cute catfish, which grows 3,5-4,5 cm long and deserves the rating “highly recommended”!
For our customers: the animals have code 208713 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer
Tencatt LFC, Britto MR, Isbruecker IJH, Pavanelli CS. Taxonomy of the armored catfish genus Aspidoras (Siluriformes: Callichthyidae) revisited, with the description of a new species. Neotrop Ichthyol. 2022; 20(3):e220040. https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-0224-2022-0040