Tag Archives: Colombia

Sturisomatichthys leightoni

13. May 2020

Until recently, two genera of closely related whiptail catfish were distinguished according to anatomical features: the relatively short-nosed Sturisomatichthys with four described species and the relatively long-nosed Sturisoma with over 15 species. All species are popular aquarium fish because they are attractive and easy to breed. Unlike most other loricariid catfish they do not breed in caves, but lay their eggs openly (usually on one of the vertical aquarium panes). After spawning the male guards the clutch until the young hatch. As a rule of thumb one could say that Sturisomatichthys remain smaller (10-12 cm), while Sturisoma can be expected to be 15-30 cm (depending on the species).

But a recent study by Alejandro Londoño-Burbano and Roberto E. Reis showed that all species from Colombia, Venezuela and Panama are so closely related that they belong to the same genus – i.e. Sturisomatichthys -, while the species from the entire Amazon basin and further south to Paraguay remain in Sturisoma.

Regardless of this, the short-nosed Sturisomatichthys in the narrower sense are difficult in species identification. The first species to be imported and bred was S. leightoni in 1985. It disappeared again from the hobby, while two very similar species, which Evers & Seidel called S. sp. “Colombia1” and S. sp. “Colombia2″, were imported and bred more frequently from Colombia from the 1990s onwards. Then also “real” S. leightoni came into the trade occasionally. Since all three species are highly variable in colouration, and therefore it is not always possible to determine them, and since shipments from Colombia often contain several species mixed together, these three forms are usually not distinguished from each other in the trade and are referred to as S. leightoni – even in our company.

At the moment we have very well accustomed, adult, strong and mature animals in stock. Most of them correspond best to Sturisomatichthys sp. Colombia1, but for the above mentioned reasons they are listed as S. leightoni in our stock. In well acclimatized animals one can recognizes in S. sp. Colombia1 numerous spots and worm lines on the front body, which are missing in S. leightoni. Unfortunately these colour features fade to unrecognizability in stressed animals. The species S. guaitipan from the upper and middle Rio Magdalena in Colombia, newly described in December 2019, is very similar to S. sp. Colombia1, but the unique feature for S. guaitipan is that it has only 10 branched fin rays in the caudal fin, while both animals photographed for this post have 12 branched rays in the caudal fin.

For our customers: the animals have code 294403 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Literature: Londoño-Burbano, A. & R.E. Reis (2019): A Taxonomic Revision of Sturisomatichthys Isbrücker and Nijssen, 1979 (Loricariidae: Loricariinae), with Descriptions of Three New Species. Copeia 107, No. 4, 2019, 764–806

Colombia, a journey to the habitats of our fishes

16. August 2019

Every aquarist probably wants to visit the habitat of his fish once. We were 6 aquarists from the Berlin area as well as from the south-southwest of Germany. Through Roman Neukirchen from the company Aquarium Glaser we got the opportunity to have a look at the transport routes from the catch of the fish in the rivers of Colombia to the transport to Germany in our domestic aquariums.

Daniel welcomes us in Bogota

The flights were quickly booked. Meeting point were the airports in Berlin and Munich, in January 2019. After a 12 hour flight from Munich we landed in Bogota, the capital of Colombia. The next day Daniel, one of the owners of Acuario Norte, who supplies Aquarium Glaser with freshwater fish from Colombia, welcomed us in the centre of Bogota. He gave us the opportunity to have a look at one of the fish export facilities.

The city Bogota lies on 2.650 m height, its temperatures vary in the night between 7 – 10 °C and reach on the day approx. 20 °C. This requires the heating of the aquarium system to pleasant temperatures for the fish of 24 to 26 °C for the period of their intermediate holding, of up to three days.

In order to keep this time for the fish as short as possible, Daniel runs a catching & collecting station in the Llanos, where he keeps fish from various fishermen from all over Colombia until they are shipped.

After our very informative meeting with Daniel we took the opportunity to see some of the sights in Bogota and a crater lake outside the city.

At the end of our meeting Daniel gave us a contact in Puerto Inirida from one of his fishermen.

In Puerto Inirida, arriving after a 1 1/2 hour domestic flight, Leonell, our local contact and fisherman, welcomed us. With Leonell we planned our first tour. We were accompanied by his son Camillo and the Indian boatman Kortez. The next morning we drove the Rio Inirida some kilometres downstream, there the Rio Inirida flows into the Rio Guaviare, a white water river.

We drove the Rio Guaviare by boat upstream. In order to get good photo and film shots under water, however, we had to switch to clear & black water tributaries. With our local Indian boat guide Kortez the chance to meet such biotopes increased, which also resulted in several hours of foot marches at 35 degrees in the shade on land to find these streams and residual water depressions in the dry season. In some places the shore landscape in the middle of the dry season had partly steppe-like character, which made the search an adventure for us and brought us bubbles on our feet.

Farm on the bank of Rio Guaviare

Rio Guaviare

Myleus cf.torquatus (KNER, 1858) attracted by a corn cone

(to be continued)

Text: Thomas Große, Photos: Roland Rietsch