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New Armored Wood-Eating Catfish Discovered

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 30th, 2010


Credit: Nature Conservancy. Paulo Petry.

A new species of armored, Amazonian catfish that eats wood from fallen logs – and, sometimes, the droppings of its fellow catfish, has been discovered.

Nature Conservancy freshwater scientist Paulo Petry (above, with new species) found it while on a scientific expedition to the Fitzgarald arch, one of the remotest parts of the Peruvian Amazon. They were caught at the confluence of the Peruvian Purus and Curanja (a tributary to the Purus) rivers.

The Nahuan people of the ethnicity Sharanahua (which means “the good people”) call the fish Ishgunmahuan — which in their language basically means “large armored catfish.” Armored catfish are unique to South America. In Spanish, it’s “carachama gigante.”


Credit: Nature Conservancy. Paulo Petry.

There are 10 species of this genus called Panaque, and all of them have this commonality — they feed on wood and they have these particular kind of teeth, shaped like a spoon that allows them to scrape wood.

More on the new discovery can be found here.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


6 Responses to “New Armored Wood-Eating Catfish Discovered”

  1. E responds:

    Now THAT’s a fine looking fish =)

  2. red_pill_junkie responds:

    That looks like a “plecos” (plecostomus), a species most fresh-water aquarium enthusiasts are familiar with —probably the only fish that was able to thrive back when I kept a tank :)

  3. Harold responds:

    Great. Termites, carpenter ants…now I have to worry about Amazonian catfish doing structural damage to my house?

  4. Sordes responds:

    Panaques are really quite bizarre catfish, and some of the species can reach really quite impressive sizes. I only wanted to note, that this fish are not really wood-eating. It is well known that this fish scratch on wood, and in general they need actually wood if you want to keep them for longer time in a tank. But they are not really consuming the wood like the larvae of bark beetles. Experiments have shown that loricariids actually lose weight when they get nothing else than wood to eat, and they are poor to digest wood. So even if they often seem to feed on wood, the label “wood-eating” is somewhat misleading. If they would actually eat the wood, they would probably destroy all wooden pieces in a tank within a comparably short time, but that’s normally not the case.
    Source:
    Inside the guts of wood-eating catfishes: can they digest wood?
    Donovan P. German

  5. Weezy responds:

    In a word, awesome. I love weird or interesting looking fish, and this thing is weird, interesting and cool looking all at the same time.

  6. Dr Kaco responds:

    red_pill_junkie you are spot on!!! LOL it’s like a “plecos” on Steroids!
    Gotta put an asterisk for this find ;p



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