Cat-eLog Right Arrow Heptapteridae Right Arrow Phreatobius

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Scientific NamePhreatobius sp. (1)   
Common NameLand Catfish
Pronunciationfray toe bee uss
EtymologyFrom the Greek phrear, phreat- meaning ''well'' or ''spring''. 
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Size 30mm or 1.2" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationNot surprisingly this species has yet to be imported as an aquarium fish. They are reportedly rare in the wild but this is more likely because of insufficient distribution data, unimportance to the local people and the small size of the fish than true scarcity.
General RemarksIt is labelled Phreatobius walkeri in the Guinness book of records (GBOR), but this is a ''nomen nudum'' (literally a naked name) which means that this name is not scientifically valid and indeed cannot be used in future. It is stated within the GBOR that, ''this is the only known fish in the world that solely lives on land. Other fish species (including some other catfish) can spend some of their time on land, but not all their time''. From a ''certain point of view'', this makes this catfish the ''newest fish on land''! In truth this isn't quite right - it's not DRY land. This Phraetobius is only and always found within the sodden leaf litter banks by the stream edges. As you can see it is a small, wormlike catfish and was found in the middle of the 1980s in Brazil. This species lives a full life on ''land'' among fallen leaves near the river. It is reported that if it is returned to water, it will quickly jump out of it again, but this seems unlikely. This fish is currently placed in the Heptapteridae family but has many similarities with the Trichomycteridae. Its ''halfway house'' characteristics might even merit the creation of a new catfish family. Many authors consider this genus a junior synonym of Heptapterus.
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Registered Keepers(1) JAYcarreon.

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Breeding ReportsNone.
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Last Update2004 Dec 20 00:00 (species record created: 2001 Jul 07 00:00)