Striped Raphael Catfish (Platydoras armatulus)

Also known as the Chocolate Catfish, the Striped Raphael Catfish belongs to the Doradide family of catfish,
identified by their bony body plates. In the wild, this nocturnal fish loves to burrow into soft and sandy river bottoms. There is a Striped Raphael Catfish on display in the Zoo’s Rainforest, where it can be seen swimming in the same exhibit as the Amazon Tree Boas and an albino catfish of a different species.


The Striped Raphael Catfish is one of the “thorny catfish species,” with tiny, curved spines that run alongside its body and rigid ones on its pectoral fins. As juveniles, the stripes on their bodies are more defined and identify them as cleaning fish—they eat parasites off of other larger fish. Adult fish, with duller stripes, aren’t known to follow this behavior.


River bottoms with soft and sandy soils. Rocks and crevices on river bottoms are also great habitat for this fish, since it loves to hide!


Naturally found in South American rivers like the Amazon, there are a few that can be seen in the southern United States, notably Florida, due to owners releasing them into the wild.


In the wild, they can eat mollusks, crustaceans and organic debris. In captivity, worms are a common food source, but they will eat fish food pellets and tablets as well.

Life Span: 

The lifespan will vary from 5 years to 30 years, both in the wild and in captivity.

Family Life: 

The Striped Raphael Catfish is a spawning species; it releases its eggs into the rivers and streams to be fertilized.


Common throughout their natural range.

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