Silvinichthys bortayro

Fernandez and De Pinna 2005







Holotype: FML 2590, 29.4 mm SL. Paratypes: AMNH 233621 18.5 mm SL, FLBS 01071A 18.7 mm SL, FML 2591, 2, 24.5 mm SL, FML 2592 19.6 mm SL, FML 2594, 2, 25.4mm SL, MZUSP 83359 27.7 mm SL.


Known only from a series of artificial wells which penetrate a phreatic aquifer near Río Arenales at San Luis, Departamento Capital, Provincia de Salta, western Argentina. 24°50'S, 65°30'W. Altitude 1273m.

These wells are in the biogeographic unit Central Pacific and drainage basin Bermejo of Schaefer (2011:268-273). These wells are in the Panpean biogeographic province of Lopez et al. (2008).


The nature of the phreatic aquifer inhabited by Silvinichthys bortayro is not known. The wells where it is caught contain clear water to a depth of 7-12m with a sandy substrate.


There are currently seven species in the genus Silvinichthys Aratia 1998 (Eschmeyer, Fricke, and van der Laan 2021), five of them in Argentina (S. bortayro, S. gualcamayo, S. huachi, S. leoncitensis and S. mendozensis - Mirande and Koeber 2015). Four of these (S. bortayro, S. gualcamayo, S. huachi and S. leoncitensis) lack the pelvic girdle and pelvic fins and this synapomorphy unites these four into a monophyletic group. Within this group S. bortayro and S. huachi share a reduction in the number of branched pectoral-fin rays (5 or 6 vs. 7 to 9 in other Silvinichthys species and most trichomycterins) and it is hypothesized that S. huachi is the sister species to S. bortayro (Fernandez, Sanabria, Quiroga and Vari 2014). Hoever, there is a distance of 800km between the type localities of these two species.

Conservation Status


Fernandez (2005, 2010) discusses the conservation status of this species.

Museum Holdings

As above plus: FACEN40 (Fernandez et al. 2021).

Internet Resources

Argentina Freshwater Fishes account

Genbank 12S (Fernandez et al. 2021)

Genbank H3 (Fernandez et al. 2021)

Key References

Arratia, G., Chang, A., Menu-Marque, G. and Rojas, M. Journal Article 1978 About Bullockia gen. nov., Trichomycterus mendozensis n. sp. and revision of the family Trichomycteridae (Pisces, Siluriformes)
Arratia, G. Journal Article 1998 Silvinichthys, a new genus of trichomycterid catfishes from the Argentinian Andes, with redescription of Trichomycterus nigricans
Fernandez, L. and de Pinna, M.C.C. Journal Article 2005 Phreatic catfish of the genus Silvinichthys from southern South America (Teleostei, Siluriformes, Trichomycteridae)
Fernandez, L. Journal Article 2005 Risk of extinction of a rare catfish of Andean groundwater and its priority for conservation
Lopez, H.L., Menni, R.C., Donato, M. and Miquelarena, A.M. Journal Article 2008 Biogeographical revision of Argentina (Andean and Neotropical Regions): an analysis using freshwater fishes
Fernandez, L. Journal Article 2010 Threatened fishes of the world: Silvinichthys bortayro (Fernandez and de Pinna, 2005) (Trichomycteridae)
Fernández, L., Dominino, J., Brancolini, F. and Baigún, C. Journal Article 2011 A new catfish species of the genus Silvinichthys (Teleostei: Trichomycteridae) from Leoncito National Park, Argentina
Fernandez, L. Journal Article 2011 Silvinichthys bortayro (Fernandez y Pinna 2005)
Fernández, L., Sanabria, E.A. and Quiroga, L.B. Journal Article 2013 Silvinichthys gualcamayo, a new species of catfish from the central Andes of Argentina (Siluriformes: Trichomycteridae)
Fernandez, L., Sanabria, E.A., Quiroga, L.B. and Vari, R.P. Journal Article 2014 A new species of Silvinichthys (Siluriformes, Trichomycteridae) lacking pelvic fins from mid-elevation localities of the southern Andes, with comments on the genus
Mirande, J.M. and Koeber. S. Journal Article 2015 Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of Argentina (CLOFFAR)
Fernández, L. and Liotta, J. Journal Article 2016 Silvinichthys pachonensis, a new catfish from high altitude, with a key to the species of the genus (Siluriformes: Trichomycteridae)
Fernández, L., Sanabria, E.A. and Quiroga, L.B. Journal Article 2017 Description of Silvinichthys pedernalensis n. sp. (Teleostei, Siluriformes) from the Andean Cordillera of southern South America
Fernandez, L., Arroyave, J. and Schaefer, S.A. Journal Article 2021 Emerging patterns in phylogenetic studies of trichomycterid catfishes (Teleostei, Siluriformes) and the contribution of Andean diversity