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Catfish, Armored

Catfish, Armored

Scientific Name: Hypostomus sp.


Status: Data Deficient


Habitat: These fish are distributed in parts of Central America and throughout South America. Species in this genus are found in neotropical streams. They are a “demersal” fish, meaning they live close to the bottom of streams.


Diet: Armored catfish eat algae and other plant materials. They have a sucker mouth that is on the underside of their head. This allows them to keep an eye on their surroundings and also enjoy their lunch.


Physical Characteristics: Their name comes from the strong plates that cover their body-they simulate an amour. Species of armored catfish vary in size. They all have a similar structure, but some species are thinner and have different color patterns. Their sucker mouth, large pectoral fins, pelvic fins, and caudal fins aid their ground-hugging movement. They also have a large and spiny dorsal fin (on the top of their head).

Like all other catfish, the armored catfish can be recognized right away by the whiskers near their mouths. But these aren’t like the whiskers on the Lion or the Tiger, Catfish whiskers pack a nasty sting!

As a detritivore, armored catfish have an important role in streams they inhabit. As they eat the algae, there is no danger of the algae taking over the stream. If the algae were to over-grow then the population of invertebrates would become uncontrollable and the stream’s ecosystem would collapse. With the help of all of other detritivores, armored catfish control the population of algae and invertebrates. Rainforests are a very sensitive area and it is important that all ecosystems remain balanced for all organisms to live peacefully.

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