Possible Return of the Driftwood Catfish, Trachelyopterus galeatus (Family: Auchenipteridae) to Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago

Ryan S. Mohammed, Harnarine Lalla


The mean freshwater and riverine ichthyofaunal species richness for Trinidad and Tobago, according to Phillip (1998), was calculated to be 38.7 using a wide range of species richness estimators, with the recorded observed being 38 fish species. Since then there have been numerous taxonomic disputes causing this richness estimate to change. Mohammed et al. (2010) documented an additional species, the gouramy, Trichogaster trichopterus in the south-central Oropuche drainage of Trinidad. Prior to this, Kenny (1995) reported 43 freshwater fish species listed for Trinidad and Tobago. In this account, the historical occurrences of the elongate hatchetfish, Triportheus elongatus (Family: Characidae) and driftwood catfish, Trachelyopterus galeatus (Family: Auchenipteridae) were noted, but both were suspected to be extinct. Neither species were reported in Phillip’s (1998) account, and subsequently were absent in the taxonomic keys for freshwater fishes by Phillip and Ramnarine (2001). Recently, T. elongatus was reported in south-east Trinidad (Mohammed et al. 2010), and T. galeatus has been re-discovered in 2011 in the central drainages of the Caroni Plain.

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