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Catfish of the Month > April 1997
Agamyxis pectinifrons

Spotted Raphael Catfish, Spotted Talking Catfish - Agamyxis pectinifrons (Cope, 1870)

This is another fish that can destroy a good net when attempting to transfer them. Although it can be a bit painful, it is possible to move this fish by hand. This is best practiced with small fish and rubber gloves initially, but seasoned pros can literally pluck these fish from underneath a rock. You must get a finger between each pectoral fin and the catfishes body with your thumb above the head. Due to a reflex driven defensive mechanism the fish will lock its pectoral fins, trapping your fingers! I recall reading that this action is used by the fish when caught to make itself as difficult to swallow as possible. The fish will remain locked to your fingers until you transfer it and submerge it once again when it will release and dart off to the nearest dark refuge.

Whether you transfer the fish by this or more conventional methods you will probably hear why it is called a talking catfish during the transfer. The fish emits a high pitched croaking noise which can be surprisingly loud. The fish achieves this by grinding the base of its pectoral fin bone against its shoulder bone; much like the noise you can make by grinding your teeth, but louder! Most, if not all, of the 80 - 100 members of the family can "talk" in this manner. Amongst these are some true giants (4ft +) which I would very much like to hear.

Photo credits for the images used in this article can be found on the Cat-eLog page.

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Scroll down to next sectionCat-eLog Data Sheet
 Scientific Name  Agamyxis pectinifrons  (Cope, 1870) - add this species to your "My Cats" page.
 Common Name(s)  Spotted Raphael Catfish, Spotted Talking Catfish
 Type Locality  Pebas, Peru.
 Synonym(s)  Doras pectinifrons
 Pronunciation  peck TIN ee frons
 Etymology  Agamyxis: From the Greek agan, meaning much, and myxa, meaning mucus; in reference to the mucus produced by the fish. 
Scroll down to next sectionSpecies Information
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0mm 130mm (5.1") SL 1000mm

   Show near, nearer or same sized spp.

 Identification  The light coloured spots that make this fish so attractive range from brilliant white to pale yellow in different batches of imports.
 Sexing  Unknown
Scroll down to next sectionHabitat Information
 Distribution  Widespread throughout tropical South American rivers 
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
 pH  6.0 - 7.5
 Temperature  20.0-26.0°C or 68-78.8°F (Show others)
Scroll down to next sectionHusbandry Information
 Feeding  Will eat any food that reaches it. Bloodworm and sinking catfish tablets are best as they can be ''aimed'' at the fishes daytime hide-out.
 Furniture  Needs a dark refuge, but smaller individuals will spend the day in dense vegetation just as happily.
 Compatibility  A perfect community fish
 Suggested Tankmates  Ideal first catfish for a budding aquarist as well as a good ''worker'' catfish for all levels of community tanks
 Breeding  Some details, although sketchy. Seems to be a bubble nest builder or at least lay its eggs on floating vegetation at the water surface.
Scroll down to next sectionFurther Information
 References  Proc. Am. Philos. Soc.v. 11 - pp568
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(1) TP, (2) synoguy, (3) natefrog, (4) Iwona, (5) Dick F., (6) ali12345, (7) Persephone, (8) Chrysichthys, (9) Lornek8, (10) Silurus, (11) gage, (12) Tuti, (13) azfisher, (14) traumatic, (15) Devangel.
 Cool Links  Show Thumbnails - Show thumbnails of all species of Agamyxis

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 Last Update  2006-05-06 00:00:00 (species record created: 2001-04-28 00:00:00)

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