turn of the century. Resources for such
information are generally uncommon, and
the area does beg for additional research.
The first American aquarium book of
the Twentieth Century is Eugene Smith’s
1902 The Home Aquarium And How To Care
For It. Smith devotes almost three pages
to catfishes, but they are all native: brown
bullhead Ameiurus nebulosus; white catfish
A. catus; channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus;
and tadpole madtom Schilbeodes (now
Noturus) gyrinus. The latter is given the
common name of tadpole catfish by Smith.
In 1908 three aquarium books were
published in the United States. Of these the
most important (at least from the point of this
article) was The Freshwater Aquarium And Its
Inhabitants by Otto Eggeling and Frederick
Ehrenberg. A side note is needed here. A
second edition, or printing, of this title was
produced in 1912. Although I do not have
a copy of the 1908 printing at hand (I do
have a copy of the 1912 book), the evidence
available suggests that the 1912 book is just
a reprinting of the earlier book. So, even
with using the 1912 book I am tentatively
going with the 1908 date as regards to the
information provided. When I get additional
confirmation on this dating situation I will
make note of it in the column.
In the Eggeling and Ehrenberg book
there are 12 pages devoted to catfishes. A
majority of these (eight) are various native
species (see sidebar), but there are also
both Asian and South American species
included. The Asian catfishes so covered
are: a Mystus species from “the East Indies,”
which is listed as “Macronis [sic] vittatus
and Saccobranchus (Heteropneustes) fossilis.”
The South American catfishes covered are
designated as: Pimelodus maculatus, which
could have been at least one or more of
two or three different species; Pimelodus
gracilis (this is no doubt a Pimelodella
species); and a Brazilian Corydoras species.
The latter fish is discussed under the name
Callichthys punctatus, but from the spawning
description that is provided it is obviously
a Corydoras species. What is less certain is
exactly which species of Corydoras might
really be involved. It is of great interest (but
unfortunately details are lacking) that the
senior author is noted to have introduced
this fish to the hobby from fish originating
in Brazil. While this number of “tropical”
catfishes is at best modest, it certainly sets
a strong part of the base for the growing
catfish hobby in the United States. Many
great things were yet to come.
native following The catfish species are covered in the 1912 (1908?) Eggeling and
Ehrenberg book. In some cases
it is difficult to ascertain the
identity of the “species” involved.
Even when a real name is used
the provided information is
1. Noturus flavus: The common name
provided is yellow stone catfish. The
name used today is just stonecat.
2.Noturus gyrinus: The common
name provided is tadpole stone
catfish. Today this species is called
the tadpole madtom.
3. Noturus miurus: The common name
provided is black-headed catfish. The
accepted common name for this
species today is brindled madtom.
4. Amiurus (Ameiurus) catus: This
species is now called the white
catfish. The use by Eggeling and
Ehrenberg of bullhead, horned pout,
or black catfish as common names is
at the least confusing.
5. Amiurus (Ameiurus) erebennus:
This species name is generally
considered as a synonym of A.
natalis (yellow bullhead) although at
least one authority considers it as a
subspecies of natalis. Eggeling and
Ehrenberg use the common name
black catfish (which is also used for
the above species).
6.Ictalurus albidus: This species
name is a synonym of Ameiurus catus,
the white catfish. Eggeling and
Ehrenberg use the common name
designation(s) of white, or channel
7.Amiurus (Ameiurus) vulgaris:
The common name used for this fish
was common or long-jawed catfish.
The scientific name is a synonym of
A. nebulosus, the brown bullhead.
8.Pimelodus marginatus: The
scientific name used is a synonym
for Ameiurus nebulosus, the brown
bullhead. The location information
provided in the book supports this
designation. The common name blue
mottled catfish is used on the book.
My thanks to Al Klee, Wayne Leibel, Mark
Soberman, James Atz, and Daria Wingreen
for their assistance with obtaining, and
their discussions regarding, some of the
literature mentioned in this article. D