Royal Pleco (Panaque nigrolineatus)

The royal pleco is a species of armoured catfish native to the rivers of Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. The species grows to a length of 43 cm (17 inch) and is popular in the aquarium trade.

The royal pleco, along with some other plecostomus catfish are amongst the few fish that are capable of digesting wood. They use their sucker mouths to latch onto sunken wood and rasp at it using their teeth. Symbiotic gut bacteria digests the wood, breaking it down into usable nutrients. The fish also eats plant matter and algae.

Neal Monks via Wikimedia Commons, plecojan on Flickr

Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus cirrhosus)

The bristlenose pleco is a Loricariid catfish native to South America. They have become popular in the aquarium trade.

One of the most obvious characteristics of the loricariids is the suckermouth. The modified mouth and lips allow the fish to feed, breathe, and attach to the substrate through suction. To achieve suction, the fish presses its lips against the substrate and inflates its mouth, causing negative pressure.

Unusual for bony fish, many species have a modified iris called an omega iris. This feature gets its name from its similarity to an upside-down Greek letter omega (Ω). The origins of this structure are unknown, but breaking up the outline of the highly visible eye has been suggested to aid camouflage in what are often highly mottled animals.

As an adaptation to stagnant, low oxygen environments, the fish are able to breathe atmospheric air. Their digestive tract functions as accessory respiratory organs and are able to absorb oxygen. However, the fish will only do this when absolutely necessary and will preferentially use their gills.

Information: Wikipedia; Picture: © Miroslav Fiala

astronomy-to-zoology:

Zebra Pleco (Hypancistrus zebra)

…a small species of catfish that is endemic to Brazil where it is found in the Xingu River. Like other catfish zebra pleco are nocturnal and are often found in the bottom, where they feed on algae and small invertebrates. Zebra pleco are sexually dimorphic as males have a larger head and longer interopercular spines than females. Males will also guard the females eggs after they spawn.

 Although their conservation status is not evaluated zebra plecos face a serious threat due to the construction of the Belo Monte Dam, which could hinder the water flow of the Xingu river. Zebra pleco are highly sought after in the aquarium trade due to their unique coloration. However, their rarity makes them extremely expensive.

Phylogeny

Animalia-Chordata-Actinopterygii-Siluriformes-Loricariidae-Hypancistrus-zebra

Image Source(s)

Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus cirrhosus)
The bristlenose pleco is named for the bushy tentacles that grow on the male’s nose. The males can guard more than one clutch of eggs simultaneously, and females prefer males that are already protecting eggs and young. It has been suggested that the tentacles may act as a fry mimic to attract females
© Miroslav Fiala via EOL

Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus cirrhosus)

The bristlenose pleco is named for the bushy tentacles that grow on the male’s nose. The males can guard more than one clutch of eggs simultaneously, and females prefer males that are already protecting eggs and young. It has been suggested that the tentacles may act as a fry mimic to attract females

© Miroslav Fiala via EOL

Zebra Pleco (Hypancistrus zebra)
With over 700 species, Loricariidae is the largest family of catfish. New species are constantly being described. Since it takes a while to establish a proper scientific name, new discoveries are temporarily given a ‘L number’ by which people can refer to.
Birger A, Wikipedia commons

Zebra Pleco (Hypancistrus zebra)

With over 700 species, Loricariidae is the largest family of catfish. New species are constantly being described. Since it takes a while to establish a proper scientific name, new discoveries are temporarily given a ‘L number’ by which people can refer to.

Birger A, Wikipedia commons

Wood-Eating Catfish … Eating Wood

Photograph by Michael Goulding/Copeia

A new species of armored, wood-eating catfish (pictured underwater) found in the Amazon rain forest feeds on a fallen tree in the Santa Ana River in Peru in 2006.

Other so-called suckermouth armored catfish species use their unique teeth to scrape organic material from the surfaces of submerged wood. But the new, as yet unnamed, species is among the dozen or so catfish species known to actually ingest wood.

Still, wood-eating catfish are largely unable to digest wood. Only associated organic material—such as algae, microscopic plants, animals, and other debris—gets absorbed into their bodies. The wood itself passes through the fish and is expelled as waste.

“The fish pass wood through their guts in less than four hours, which is incredibly fast for an animal that supposedly digests wood,” said Donovan German, a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, who is researching the digestion of wood-eating catfish.

“People think they must have an amazing consortium of microbes in their guts to help the fish digest wood, but that isn’t really what I’ve found,” he added. “The amazing microbes are in the river, on the wood itself.”

"Unusual" Armored Catfish
Photograph by Milton Tan
A new species of suckermouth armored catfish (pictured) has been found in Ecuador, a new study says.
DePaul University scientist Windsor Aguirre found five specimens of the odd-looking fish in 2008 in the Santa Rosa River (map) and sent it to Alabama’s Auburn University for identification.
"When we first realized it was new, it wasn’t particularly surprising—this family [of catfish] increases in number every year," said study leader Milton Tan, a Ph.D. student in biology at Auburn.
Instead, what interested Tan and colleagues is that the 2.8-inch-long (7-centimeter-long) species—unlike its relatives—lacks armored plates on the sides of its head.
The lack of head plates suggests the species is a “missing link” between other Cordylancistrus species and the related genus Chaetostoma, which has an unplated snout, Tan said.
The arrangement makes the new species “a really unusual fish,” said Tan, who named the animal Cordylancistrus santarosensis after its home river.
"That’s important, because the fish species in Ecuador are not particularly diverse, [and we wanted to] let people know [there’s a fish] in Ecuador that’s particularly unique and only found there."

"Unusual" Armored Catfish

Photograph by Milton Tan

A new species of suckermouth armored catfish (pictured) has been found in Ecuador, a new study says.

DePaul University scientist Windsor Aguirre found five specimens of the odd-looking fish in 2008 in the Santa Rosa River (map) and sent it to Alabama’s Auburn University for identification.

"When we first realized it was new, it wasn’t particularly surprising—this family [of catfish] increases in number every year," said study leader Milton Tan, a Ph.D. student in biology at Auburn.

Instead, what interested Tan and colleagues is that the 2.8-inch-long (7-centimeter-long) species—unlike its relatives—lacks armored plates on the sides of its head.

The lack of head plates suggests the species is a “missing link” between other Cordylancistrus species and the related genus Chaetostoma, which has an unplated snout, Tan said.

The arrangement makes the new species “a really unusual fish,” said Tan, who named the animal Cordylancistrus santarosensis after its home river.

"That’s important, because the fish species in Ecuador are not particularly diverse, [and we wanted to] let people know [there’s a fish] in Ecuador that’s particularly unique and only found there."