All FishesPimelodidaeCalophysus

Hop to next section All Fishes Data Sheet
Scientific NameCalophysus macropterus  (Lichtenstein, 1819)
Common NamesVulture Catfish
Bagre Machete (Venezuelan), Gribbemalle (Denmark), Mapurite (Venezuelan), Pintadinho (Brazilian), Piracatinga (Brazilian), Pirate Catfish, Zamurito (Venezuelan)
Type LocalityBrazil.
Synonym(s)Pimeletropsis lateralis, Pimelodus ctenodus, Pimelodus macropterus
Pronunciationmack row terr uss
Hop to next section Species Information
Size 500mm or 19.7" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationBody 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 RemarksThis 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.
Hop to next section Habitat Information
DistributionCommon 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)
Show it on a map (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
pH6.0 - 7.4
Temperature24.0-29.0°C or 75.2-84.2°F (Show species within this range)
Hop to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingAn adaptable carnivore as the common name, 'vulture catfish' applies.
FurnitureComfortable in almost any environment, including sturdy planted aquaria, provided it has sufficient hiding places.
CompatibilityA 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 TankmatesArmored loricariids and doradids, larger fish such as cichlids.
Hop to next section Further Information
ReferencesZool. 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.
Registered KeepersNone.
Breeding ReportsNone.
Look up PlanetCatfish.comLook up Calophysus macropterus on
BBCode (use in forum posts)
(species permalink)
Get or print a QR code for this species profile, or try our BETA label creator.
Hits1 hits.
Last Update2018 Jul 18 06:53 (species record created: 2001 Apr 22 00:00)