Classification / Names
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes
(Catfish) > Heptapteridae
Etymology: Phreatobius: Greek, phreas, -atos = well, spring + Greek, bios = alive (Ref. 45335); sanguijuela: The specific name refers to the local name of this catfish in Bolivia.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; demersal. Tropical
South America: artificial wells near Río Paraguá, a tributary of the Río Iténez in Bolivia.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 4.2 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 59347)
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 19 - 20;
Vertebrae: 45 - 46. Distinguished from other siluriform genera by having the following combination of characters: dorsal and ventral procurrent caudal-fin rays extended rostrally, dorsally reaching a vertical position on dorsal-fin base posterior to dorsal-fin insertion, ventrally continuous with anal fin; caudal fin round; all anal-fin rays unbranched; mouth prognathous, with jaws displaced dorsally on head; adductor mandibulae muscle hypertrophied, covering most of skull and inserting posteriorly onto first neural spine; first pectoral-fin ray soft, not spinous; bright red in life. Differs uniquely from its congeners by the absence of eyes, presence of 25-34 dorsal procurrent caudal fin rays; 14-16 ventral procurrent caudal fin rays; 45-46 vertebrae (Ref. 59347).
Occurs in artificial wells with transparent water, depth range 6 to 12 m and diameter of approximately 1 m (Ref. 59347). The water in the wells is used locally for human consumption. This fish is often mistaken for parasitic leeches " sanguijuelas" due to its bright, blood-red color and vermiform shape. For this reason, this is killed upon incidental capture when extracting drinking water from wells.
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Fernández, L., L.J. Saucedo, F.M. Carvajal-Vallejos and S.A. Schaefer, 2007. A new phreatic catfish of the genus Phreatobius Goeldi 1905 from groundwaters of the Iténez River, Bolivia (Siluriformes: Heptapteridae). Zootaxa 1626:51-58. (Ref. 59347)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.6250 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00776 (0.00354 - 0.01702), b=2.98 (2.80 - 3.16), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.2 ±0.4 se; Based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months ().
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (10 of 100) .