From Paraguay we regularly receive shipments of the small whiptail catfishes of the genus Rineloricaria. No less than 65 species are currently recognized, which makes identification in many cases almost impossible without knowledge of the origin. But in the case of Paraguay, there is a recent revision of the species known from this river system by Vera-Alcaraz et al. (2008), so at least trying to determine the exact species name is not just a waste of time.
Mostly, whiptail catfishes destined for export are collected from Paraguay not far from the capital Asunción. From there three species can be expected: R. aurata, R. lanceolata and R. parva. R. lanceolata and R. parva we receive regularly, see hhttps://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/rineloricaria_lanceolata_en/ and https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/rineloricaria-parva-2/, R. aurata however (still) never – until some months ago.
Then we received a larger consignment of “Otocinlus negros”, which in reality is called Otothyropsis piribebuy. And with these animals were two whiptail catfish by-catches, which even developed to a pair, which belongs perfectly to the species Rineloricaria aurata! Why R. aurata comes so rarely to us is unknown. The species will probably not be rare in nature. But its behavior gives a hint: more than the other two species R. aurata tends to burrow. That’s why on all our photos there are always a few grains of sand on the animals. Without sandy bottom these fishes do not feel well! But in Paraguay they don’t bother to sift sandy areas to catch ornamental fish.
The pair went, after the animals had grown up and we had taken photos, to our proven breeder Kurt Jülich. What is almost unbelievable: the first juveniles are already swimming and most likely we will be able to offer Rineloricaria aurata, the Golden Witch Catfish, for sale for the first time soon! What a nice Christmas present…
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer