The dilated, round pupils of a species of suckermouth armoured catfish (Liposarcus pardalis) constrict slowly on illumination (over 35-40 min) to form crescent-shaped apertures. Ray tracing of He-Ne laser beams shows that the lenses of a related species (Pterygoplichthys etentaculus), which also has a crescent-shaped pupil, are well corrected for longitudinal spherical aberration, suggesting that the primary purpose of the irregular pupil in armoured catfish is not to correct such aberration. It is suggested that the iris operculum may serve to camouflage the pupil of these substrate-dwelling species. An examination of the catfish retina shows the photoreceptors to be exclusively single cones interspersed with elongate rods and demonstrates the presence of multiple optic nerve head papillae. Two areas of high ganglion cell density, each side of a vertically oriented falciform process, provide increased spatial resolving power along the axes examining the substrate in front of and behind the animal.