Cat-eLog Right Arrow Pimelodidae Right Arrow Calophysus

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Calophysus macropterus  (Lichtenstein, 1819)
Common Names Vulture Catfish
Bagre Machete (Venezuelan), Gribbemalle (Denmark), Mapurite (Venezuelan), Pintadinho (Brazilian), Piracatinga (Brazilian), Pirate Catfish, Zamurito (Venezuelan)
Type Locality Brazil.
Synonym(s) Pimeletropsis lateralis, Pimelodus ctenodus, Pimelodus macropterus
Pronunciation mack row terr uss
Article - CotM 2006 May
Article - Shane's World Species Calophysus macropterus, A "shark" in the freshwater aquarium
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 500mm or 19.7" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Body somewhat elongate and head broad. Eyes superior. Barbels flattened with maxillary pair extending past the end of the adipose fin. First dorsal and pectoral fin rays are 'soft'. Number of spots on the body varies greatly between populations.
General Remarks This fish has at times been placed in its own family, the Calophysidae. Although it externally looks much like other pimelodids its unique dentition, different positioning of the fins from other pimelodids, and reduced and encased swim bladder make it a distant relative of the other pimelodids.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Common in shallow waters in the Amazon near riverbanks where it is often seen in concentrations near human populations scavenging food amongst human offal.
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Middle Amazon (Solimoes), Purus, Caeté (Acre) (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Lower Amazon, Nhamundá (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Middle Amazon (Solimoes), Madeira, Canumã, Sucundurí (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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pH 6.0 - 7.4
Temperature 24.0-29.0°C or 75.2-84.2°F (Show species within this range)
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding An adaptable carnivore as the common name, 'vulture catfish' applies.
Furniture Comfortable in almost any environment, including sturdy planted aquaria, provided it has sufficient hiding places.
Compatibility A true scavenger that is also a vicious predator. Its unique dentition allows it to bite other fishes and remove chunks of flesh. Often attacks the catch of fishermen while they are hooked or netted. This ability has given the name bagre matchete (machete catfish) in Venezuela and Colombia. They are so vicious in their attacks that they sometimes stay attached even when their prey is removed from the water.

Tankmates should be chosen with great care. While it appears this fish mainly attacks wounded fishes, it certainly has the ability to rip any tankmate to shreds should it desire to do so.
Suggested Tankmates Armored loricariids and doradids, larger fish such as cichlids.
Breeding Unreported.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Jump to next section Further Information
References Zool. Mag. (Wiedemann)1819, v. 1 (pt 3) - pp59
Burgess W. (1989) An Atlas of Freshwater and Marine Catfishes: A prelimenary survey of the Siluriformes. TFH
Romano B. (1982) Los Peces de Los Llanos II: Los Bagres. Fundacion Cientifica Fluvial de Los Llanos.
Romano B. (1985) Peces de Aqua Dulce de Venezuela Vol. I. Editorial Biosfera. Ros, Wolfgang and Schmidt, Jakob (2008): Calophysus macropterus: Ein "Hai" im Süßwasseraquarium: D. Aqu. u. Terr. Z. (Datz) 61 (4): 16-18.
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Last Update 2018 Jul 18 06:53 (species record created: 2001 Apr 22 00:00)