For several years, it was believed that the Peruvian species Pseudohemiodon aff..apithanos “Chameleon” was in fact the real P.apithanos. However, in 2015 another Pseudohemiodon appeared in the trade. This was exported from Colombia, and in many ways it matches the P.apithanos in its appearance. The main difference is the pattern of fine lines covering its body, like a network. This, in addition to its origin of Rio Caqueta, makes it an even better fit for the original description of P.apithanos. In other words, the real P.apithanos has finally entered our hobby. Most likely this recent “arrival” is due to new areas of Colombia opening up to fishermen, as guerrilla-controlled areas are becoming available. They seem to occur in fairly good numbers too, as they have been offered repeatedly by several Colombian exporters recently. The price is very high, and even exceeds many of the popular L-number Plecos. With its very beautiful looks and fascinating shape, P.apithanos is a striking and exciting entry in our hobby. Surely it’s only a matter of time before they will be bred in aquariums too. An interesting trait seen in several individuals is the rust-brown colour, which can cover everything from just a few spots to the whole body. So far we have no idea what causes this.
Name: Pseudohemiodon apithanos (Isbrücker & Nijssen, 1978)
Trade names: Colombian Chameleon Whiptail
Origin: Rio Napo, Rio Conejo, Ecuador. Rio Caqueta, Colombia.
Maximum size: 25 cm / 10''
This is a typical sand-dweller that should be given open space on the bottom of your tank. They are very peaceful, and should not be kept with boisterous and oppressing species that outcompete them for food. They prefer meaty foods, abut should be fed a varied diet of quality dried foods and frozen foods. The cool thing about them is that the males are mouth brooders, so the eggs are cared for by the male who keeps them right underneath his head and torso. The best way to tell the genders apart is by looking at their vents, which are differently shaped.