Leporinus friderici, native to the Amazon Basin and popularly known as "piau-três-pintas", has great ecological and economic importance; it is widely fished and consumed throughout much of tropical South America. Knowledge of the genetic diversity of this native species is important to support management and conservation programs. We evaluated microsatellite loci amplification, using heterologous primers, in 31 individuals of L. friderici. These samples were collected from natural populations of the Araguaia River basin, in central Brazil, and the DNA was extracted from samples of muscle tissue. Eight loci were successfully analyzed. Six of them were polymorphic, and the number of alleles ranged from three to 10. Values of expected heterozygosities for these polymorphic loci ranged from 0.488 to 0.795. Exclusion probability (0.983), the identity probability (0.000073), and the mean genetic diversity values were high, showing that these microsatellite markers are suitable for assessing the genetic variability of L. friderici populations. There is a growing interest in studies that evaluate the genetic variability of natural populations for various purposes, such as conservation. Here, we showed that a viable alternative to the costly development of specific primers for fish populations is simply testing for heterologous amplification of microsatellite markers available from research on other species.