The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Callichthys callichthys
Callichthys callichthys

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Callichthys callichthys (Linnaeus 1758)

Common name: cascarudo

Synonyms and Other Names: armoured catfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Callichthys callichthys belongs to the subfamily Callichthyinae of Family Callichthyidae. Reis (1997) provided a key to the genera of that group. Distinguishing characteristics and identification keys provided by Gosline (1940) and Burgess (1989), but these latter keys are outdated and should be used with caution. Color photographs are given in Burgess (1989).

Size: 20 cm TL.

Native Range: Tropical America. Widespread in South America including, but not limited to, the Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata-Parana basins, the Guianas, and Trinidad (Burgess 1989).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: A fish tentatively identified as this species was collected in a canal along Jog Road in Palm Beach County, Florida in the early 1970s (Courtenay and Hensley 1979). A single fish (102 mm TL) allegedly was caught by an angler in Great South Bay off Copiague in western Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, in June 1978 (P.T. Briggs, personal communication; Courtenay and Hensley 1979).

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Callichthys callichthys are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL197919791Florida Southeast Coast
NY197819781Southern Long Island

Table last updated 2/27/2023

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Florida records may represent escape from fish farms or aquarium release. New York record, if valid, is a probable aquarium release.

Status: Failed in Florida and New York.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: The identity of the New York fish was confirmed by James Atz of the American Museum of Natural History; the specimen was later returned to the angler for mounting (Briggs, personal communication). Nevertheless, doubt remains about the actual capture of this tropical freshwater fish as it was reportedly taken in Great South Bay, which has relatively cool (about 13°C) saline waters. Given the abundance of a similar confamilial species, Hoplosternum littorale, in Florida today, the Florida specimen may represent an early record for that species. As there are no known voucher specimens, the identity is uncertain.

References: (click for full references)

Briggs, P.T. - Associate Aquatic Biologist, Finfish and Crustaceans Unit, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Stony Brook, New York (letter dated 19 September 1979 to James McCann)

Burgess, W.E. 1989. An atlas of freshwater and marine catfishes: a preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Courtenay, W.R., Jr., and D.A. Hensley. 1979. Survey of introduced non-native fishes. Phase I Report. Introduced exotic fishes in North America: status 1979. Report Submitted to National Fishery Research Laboratory, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gainesville, FL.

Gosline, W. A. 1940. Revision of the neotropical catfishes of the family Callichthyidae. Stanford Ichthyological Bulletin 2(1):1-29.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Nico, L.

Revision Date: 4/30/2018

Peer Review Date: 6/22/2012

Citation Information:
Nico, L., 2023, Callichthys callichthys (Linnaeus 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=335, Revision Date: 4/30/2018, Peer Review Date: 6/22/2012, Access Date: 3/31/2023

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2023]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [3/31/2023].

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