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Down Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Trachelyopterus galeatus  (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common Names Common Woodcat
Stor Drivtømmermalle (Denmark)
Type Locality South America [possibly Suriname River].
Synonym(s) Auchenipterus maculosus, Parauchenipterus galeatus, Parauchenipterus paseae, Pseudauchenipterus galeatus, Silurus galeatus, Trachycorystes galeatus
Pronunciation gal ee ATT uss
Etymology Trachelyopterus: From the Greek, trachelos, meaning neck and pteron, meaning fin; in reference to the long cranial shield, which gives the appearance that the dorsal fin originates at the neck region. 
Article Link - CotM Right 2000 Right July
Down Species Information
Size 220mm or 8.7" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Colouration is key to this fish; it has set out to imitate a piece of wood and certainly succeeds. Youngsters especially are hard to spot and spend most of their time crammed into woody crevices. The pattern and colouration of this fish is very variable. Firstly, amongst individuals as environmental parameters such as water and lighting change. Secondly, in the wild it has a huge distribution range of pretty much most of tropical South America. This gives rise to many regional colour variations.
Sexing Male has a slightly concave anal fin, which is slightly convex in the female. The leading rays of the male's anal fin are fused to form a urinogenital organ used in internal fertilization of the female. This modification of the anal fin does not manifest itself until the fish is at least 75% grown.
Down Habitat Information
Distribution South America: Widespread in northern South America, including Peru and Argentina.
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Guyana Waters, Coastal Rivers of Guyanas, Suriname Coastal Rivers, Marowijne, Upper Marowijne, Grand Inini (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Least Concern, range map and more is available on the IUCN species page. Last assessed 2020.
pH 6.0 - 7.5
Temperature 20.0-24.0°C or 68-75.2°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters Slightly soft water is preferable but in no way vital - this is a hardy fish.
Down Husbandry Information
Feeding Most prepared foods are taken. Live or frozen foods will promote fast growth although are not necessary to maintain this fish in good condition. Care should be taken not to feed dry foods which expand after contact with water. This fish is a glutton and will eat all food present; if this subsequently expands inside the fish it may cause internal injury. Presoak these foods before use. User data.
Furniture Juveniles (smaller than 2'') require tangles of bogwood within which to hide. Floating plants or clumps of Java moss are also helpful. Larger fish require a cave each and this is most easily achieved with lengths of black PVC drain pipe.
Compatibility A boisterous fish that likes to throw its weight around but in no way aggressively. Smaller fish are at risk purely because of the fishes large mouth and nocturnal prowling.
Suggested Tankmates A boisterous fish that likes to throw its weight around but in no way aggressively. Smaller fish are at risk purely because of the fishes large mouth and nocturnal prowlings.
Breeding Not recorded in the aquarium. As mentioned before internal fertilization is utilized by this and most other genera in this family of catfish. The male internally produces a jelly-like substance which carries and protects his sperm once it is transferred to the female via the modified anal fin. Females can carry this sperm for up to 4 months before it is actually used in egg-laying. The male is not required and isn't usually present at this time.
Two female fish in a UK Public Aquarium spawned in the absence of a male, producing huge numbers of gelatinous eggs, sufficient to form a layer several eggs thick over a considerable area of the base of a 1000 gallon aquarium. It is assumed that the eggs swell considerably once they have left the body of the female. It would appear that the gelatinous coating provides protection from fungal or bacterial invasion, as in spite of being infertile they took longer than expected to decay.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Down Further Information
Reference Systema naturae sive regna tria naturae v. 1 (pt 1), pp 503
Registered Keepers There are 24 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
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There are 22 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
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Last Update 2020 Nov 08 03:10 (species record created: 2001 Apr 13 00:00)