Enigmatic armoured catfishes (Siluriformes: Callichthyidae and Loricariidae) in ornamental aquaculture: a new insight into neotropical fish diversity.
Globally, ornamental aquaculture is a multi-million-dollar industry and popular hobby. There are circa 6700 fish taxa being exploited and traded. Various species are traded under commercial names or codes such as certain armoured catfish of families Callichthyidae (C and CW codes or numbers) and Loricariidae (L and LDA codes). Many of these species are imported, reared and multiplied in captivity without their species identification. Here we present a detailed survey of this group of armoured catfish with a special focus on pairing of commercial codes with scientific names. In this context, both species with valid names and scientifically undescribed taxa contributed significantly to the total number of ornamental fish species by circa 25%. In total, 176 species of loricariids and 47 species of small callichthyids were paired with codes used in ornamental aquaculture. The total number of loricariids introduced as ornamentals was estimated to be more than 1000 taxa while more than 500 in small callichthyids. We recommend present findings to all stakeholders and especially taxonomists, conservationists and wildlife managers who are focused on this group of Neotropical fishes. Moreover, formal descriptions of unidentified taxa are required for feasible future monitoring and appropriate management measures of wild populations.