Amazon Catfish Central - Knowledge Base
The Amazon is the catfish capitol of the world! No river system, anywhere in the world, is as rich in catfish species as the Amazon basin. There are over 3000 different species of fish that occur in the Amazon. Amazingly, almost half of them are catfish! The order Siluriformes, or catfish, (along with the Characiformes) are the most diverse order of Amazon fishes and probably the most spectacular. With 15 families, including over 1300 species, Amazon catfish not only dominate the Amazon's aquatic diversity, but they account for almost half of all the catfish species in the world. Ranging in size from tiny, 5mm candiru to the gigantic, three meter long Brachyplatystoma filamentosum, or 'piraiba', these fishes occupy tremendously diverse ecological niches. Some are bottom dwellers, some nocturnal. Some are parasites and some are roving predators. Some are completely smooth while others are heavily covered with bony armor plates.
The dense, inaccessible Amazon jungles have kept many species from the prying eyes and curious observation of man, leaving the biological and ecological aspects of many of these Siluriformes poorly known. There are certainly species yet to be discovered. Meanwhile, the worldwide angling community has, until recently, seen nothing like these catfish. Room had to be made in the record books for a half-dozen Brazilian species ranging up to and well over the 100 pound plus category. These giants belong to the large and diverse Family, Pimelodidae. Acute Angling's clientele has already set new all-tackle world records for the piraiba, with a 295 pound monster, for the jau with a 109 pound specimen, and twice for the jundira, in several high gradient Amazon rivers. There are many angling records waiting to be set in Brazil and, as big as these behemoths get, they won't be set by "noodlers"!