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.

Pterodoras sp.
Pterodoras sp.
(thorny catfish)

Copyright Info
Pterodoras sp. Bleeker, 1862

Common name: thorny catfish

Synonyms and Other Names: bacu.

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Distinguishing characteristics of the genus Pterodoras were given by Higuchi (1992) and Sabaj and Ferraris (2003). A key to doradid genera, and photographs, appeared in Burgess (1989). Illustrations and identification keys were also provided by Eigenmann (1925).

Size: 60 cm fork length.

Native Range: Tropical America. Native to Orinoco, Amazon, and La Plata basins of South America.

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

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

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 Pterodoras sp. are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL198419841South Atlantic-Gulf Region

Table last updated 11/27/2021

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: This species was probably an aquarium release, as many species of Doradidae are popular in the aquarium trade.

Status: Failed in Florida.

Remarks: The Florida report of Pterodoras sp. (Courtenay et al. 1984, 1991) and that of Pterodoras granulosus (Courtenay and Hensley 1979, 1980; Courtenay et al. 1984, 1986; Courtenay and Stauffer 1990; Courtenay et al. 1991; Robins et al. 1991) may represent the same record.

There is no known voucher specimen.

NOTE: According to W. Minckley (personal communication), the remains of what was likely a doradid catfish were found in Arizona in the Phoenix Canal system in the vicinity of the Phoenix Zoo in early 1998. The fish, about 70 cm total length, had bony plates, and a small mouth with three pairs of barbels (no basal barbels evident). The dead fish was partially decomposed so only the skeleton was preserved and deposited in the ASU fish collection.

References: (click for full references)

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.

Courtenay, W. R., Jr., and D. A. Hensley. 1980. Special problems associated with monitoring exotic species. 281-307 in C. H. Hocutt, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. Biological Monitoring of Fish. Lexington Books, Lexington, MA. D.C. Heath and Company.

Courtenay, W. R., Jr., and J. R. Stauffer, Jr.. 1990. The introduced fish problem and the aquarium fish industry. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 21(3):145-159.

Courtenay, W. R., Jr., D. A. Hensley, J. N. Taylor, and J. A. McCann. 1984. Distribution of exotic fishes in the continental United States. 41-77 in W. R. Courtenay, Jr., and J. R. Stauffer, Jr., editors. Distribution, biology and management of exotic fishes. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Courtenay, W. R., Jr., D. A. Hensley, J. N. Taylor, and J. A. McCann. 1986. Distribution of exotic fishes in North America. Pages 675-698 in C. H. Hocutt, and E. O. Wiley, editors. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Courtenay, W. R., Jr., D. P. Jennings, and J. D. Williams. 1991. Appendix 2: exotic fishes. 97-107 in Robins, C. R., R. M. Bailey, C. E. Bond, J. R. Brooker, E. A. Lachner, R. N. Lea, and W. B. Scott. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada, 5th edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 20. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Eigenmann, C.H. 1925. A review of the Doradidae, a family of South American Nematognathi, or catfishes. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 22:280-365.

Higuchi, H. 1992. A phylogeny of South American thorny catfishes (Osteichthyes; Siluriformes; Doradidae). PhD dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Robins, C. R., R. M. Bailey, C. E. Bond, J. R. Brooker, E. A. Lachner, R. N. Lea, and W. B. Scott. 1991. World fishes important to North Americans exclusive of species from the continental waters of the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 21. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Sabaj, M.H. and C.J. Ferraris Jr., 2003. Doradidae (Thorny catfishes). 456-469 in R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr., eds. Checklist of the freshwater fishes of South and Central America. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, Brasil.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Leo Nico, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 5/9/2019

Peer Review Date: 10/4/2012

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, and Matt Neilson, 2021, Pterodoras sp. Bleeker, 1862: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=667, Revision Date: 5/9/2019, Peer Review Date: 10/4/2012, Access Date: 11/27/2021

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. [2021]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [11/27/2021].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted. For queries involving fish, please contact Matthew Neilson. For queries involving invertebrates, contact Amy Benson.