The Neotropical armoured catfish, Corydoras paleatus is a facultative air-breathing teleost commonly exported as ornamental fish. In this species air breathing enables it to survive and inhabit freshwater environments with low oxygen levels. Therefore, it is important to analyse the gills from a morphological aspect, and its dimensions in relation to body mass with reference to aquatic respiration. For that, the gills were analysed by stereoscopic microscope for morphometric studies, and structural and ultrastructural studies were carried out to compare the four branchial arches. Furthermore, two immunohistochemical techniques were used to locate and identify the presence of a Na+/K+ pump. The characterization of the potential for cell proliferation of this organ was assessed by means of an anti-PCNA antibody. The results show that gills of C. paleatus present some characteristics related to its diet and lifestyle, such as the limited development of gill rakers, and the abundance of taste buds. Also, other special features associated with the environment and bimodal breathing were observed: scarce and absent mucous cells (MCs) in the gill filaments and branchial lamellae respectively, and the localization of mitochondria-rich cells (MRCs) covering the basal third of the branchial lamellae, which reduces the gill respiratory area. A peculiar finding in the gill epithelium of this armoured catfish was the presence of mononuclear cells with sarcomeres similar to myoid cells, which functional importance should be determined in future studies. Finally, in C. paleatus, the interlamellar space of gill filaments is an important site for cell turnover and ionoregulation, the latter function also performed by the branchial lamellae.