This species is legend. Cetopsis coecutiens becomes up to 40 cm long and is spread very far over South America – and feared! The animals are merciless hunters. Even when trapped in a fish cast they bite pieces out of their fellow captives. Even attacks on humans are reported. People living along the Amazon river call them inter alia Candiru-açu (Brazil) or Canero (Peru). Both are names that are usually reserved for the bloodsucking, parasitic catfish of the family Trichomycteridae, which occasionally enter the ureter of bathing people in case they urinate under water.
The naturalists of the 18th century already knew Cetopsis coecutiens. They called it the “whale catfish”, because the shape of the fish is somewhat reminiscent to that of certain cetaceans. Another, whale-like feature of the catfish is the fact that it has two pairs of nasal openings. One pair is situated quite “normal” on the front of the head, but the other pair opens over the eyes, just like the blowholes of the whales do.
In the aquarium these catfish are rather interesting than beautiful. They are very peaceful against conspecifics. In life, Cetopsis coecutiens reinds one rather in a Great White Shark than in a whale. Like the shark the catfish are swimming perpetually. Like the shark the catfish are not able to close the mouth for a longer time. And also the coloration (dark back, light belly) is like the coloration of the shark.
We received some specimens of this catfish from Peru. Of course these animals are only for specialists and zoos. However, if one has a tank that is spacious enough, keeping these catfish is not difficult at all. In our facility they feed readily on Tubifex and dry food (granulates) – tamed predators!
For our customers: the fish have code 214735 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer
|Angaben zum Tier|
|Verfügbare Größe in cm||8-10|