The black armoured catfish Rhinelepis aspera is an important commercial species found in the São Francisco River (Brazil) that has great potential for pisciculture. This paper presents, for the first time, information on the embryogenesis and larval development of this species. The breeder fish were subjected to spawning induction with crude carp pituitary extract. Eggs were kept in incubators at 24°C and embryogenesis was observed with a stereomicroscope until hatching. Ovary fragments, samples of recently extruded oocytes and larvae were fixed in Bouin's solution and subjected to routine histology techniques. Recently extruded oocytes were also analyzed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Females (80%) had a positive response to hypophysation. Oocyte extrusion was performed at 8 h and 30 min after the second hormone injection and the fertilization rate achieved 72.4 ± 8.8%. Recently extruded oocytes had a mean diameter of 1360.80 ± 40.87 μm and presented a conspicuous jelly coat covering the zona pellucida. Histochemical reactions indicated the presence of neutral glycoproteins in the yolk globules and in the zona pellucida. These reactions also indicated the presence of neutral glycoproteins and carboxylated acid glycoconjugates in the follicular cells and the jelly coat. These compounds form mucosubstances that can be related to the adhesiveness of the eggs. Under the SEM the oocytes presented a micropyle disc and a thick jelly coat over their surface. The closure of the blastopore occurred 9 h and 40 min after fertilization and embryogenesis was completed at 45 h and 50 min after fertilization, when the embryos were incubated at 24°C. The total absorption of the yolk sac occurred during the fifth day indicating the need for an exogenous food supply. These results provide essential information for the successful breeding and management of the promising R. aspera.