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.

Perrunichthys perruno
Perrunichthys perruno
(leopard catfish)

Copyright Info
Perrunichthys perruno Schultz, 1944

Common name: leopard catfish

Synonyms and Other Names: Perruno.

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: This genus contains a single species. Keys were provided by Schultz (1944) and Taphorn and Lilyestrom (1984). As well as giving diagnostic characteristics in his original description, Schultz (1944) provided a representative illustration of the species. Distinguishing characteristics and color photographs of live fish were given by Burgess (1989). Adults are large and colorful, with a color pattern similar to that of another large pimelodid catfish, Leiarius marmoratus.

Size: To over 62 cm SL.

Native Range: Tropical America. Restricted to Maracaibo Basin of Venezuela and Colombia, South America (Schultz 1944).

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 Perrunichthys perruno are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
TX199219921North Galveston Bay

Table last updated 7/25/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release (Howells 2001).

Status: Failed in Texas.

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 Texas record is supported by a photograph of rather poor quality (on file at the USGS Biological Resources Division center in Gainesville). The angler kept the specimen to make it into a trophy mount (Howells, personal communication). Some question still remains as to correct identity of the Texas specimen. According to J. G. Lundberg (personal communication), the dorsal ray count of 10, if correctly reported, makes the case good for Leiarius marmoratus even though the color of the fish in the photograph is not exactly correct (Leiarius and Perrunichthys can be distinguished easily by superficial skull characteristics). Although neither species is apparently common in the aquarium trade, Ferraris (1991) reported that both species have become more popular in recent years. Commercial airline flights from Maracaibo, Venezuela, to the Houston area have been common during the recent past and indicate that P. perruno could be easily brought into Texas along with other ornamental fishes.

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.

Ferraris, C. J., Jr. 1991. Catfish in the aquarium. Tetra Press, Morris Plains, NJ.

Howells, R.G. - Heart of the Hills Reserach Station, TX Parks and Wildl. Dept., Ingram, TX. Response to NBS-G non-indigenous questionaire. 1992.

Howells, R.G. 2001. Introduced non-native fishes and shellfishes in Texas waters: an updated list and discussion. Texas Parks and Wildlife Management Data Series, vol 188.

Lundberg, J.G. - Department of Ichthyology, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.

Schultz, L. P. 1944. The catfishes of Venezuela, with descriptions of thirty-eight new forms. Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum 94(3172):173-338.

Taphorn, D. C., and C. G. Lilyestrom. 1984. Claves para los peces de agua dulce de Venezuela: 1. Las familias de Venezuela. 2. Los generos y las especies de la Cuenca del Lago de Maracaibo. Revista UNELLEZ de Ciencia y Tecnología (Guanare, Venezuela) 2(2):5-30.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Nico, L.

Revision Date: 6/7/2012

Peer Review Date: 6/7/2012

Citation Information:
Nico, L., 2024, Perrunichthys perruno Schultz, 1944: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=837, Revision Date: 6/7/2012, Peer Review Date: 6/7/2012, Access Date: 7/25/2024

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. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/25/2024].

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