Shovelnose Catfish

Shovelnose Catfish (Sorubium lima)

320px Johann Natterer   Jurupoca %28Hemisorubim platyrhynchos%29 Shovelnose Catfish freshwater fish

Like all catfish the shovelnose variety has three pairs of long feelers, or barbels, which look like the whiskers of a cat. But perhaps more remarkable is the creature’s broad, duckbill-like snout, a feature from which the shovelnose gained its name. On the underside of the snout is the shovelnose’s mouth. The mouth’s location serves the creature well at feeding time. Like a vacuum cleaner, the shovelnose uses its mouth to suck up crustaceans and other goodies as it moves along the river bottom.

Catfish in Wikipedia

Catfishes are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat’s whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest and longest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the second longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores (species that eat dead material on the bottom), and even to a tiny parasitic species commonly called the candiru, Vandellia cirrhosa. There are armour-plated types and also naked types, neither having scales. Despite their name, not all catfish have prominent barbels; members of the Siluriformes order are defined by features of the skull and swimbladder. Catfish are of considerable commercial importance; many of the larger species are farmed or fished for food. Many of the smaller species, particularly the genus Corydoras, are important in the aquarium hobby. Catfish are nocturnal.

During the day the shovelnose catfish lies hidden among leaves and other debris on the river bottom. But as evening falls, it begins its hunt for food, an activity that continues throughout the night. This creature depends on its sense of touch and on its taste buds to find food. In fact the barbels are covered with taste buds—just like a human tongue! As the catfish moves along the river bottom, its barbels constantly move back and forth, picking up information about the environment.

The shovelnose catfish is silver-gray, with a white belly. Unlike most fish the shovelnose’s skin is bare, completely lacking scales. Its dorsal fins (on the top of the body) and pectoral fins (on the sides behind the gills) have no color and are covered with strong spines. The sharp spines are weapons of defense, providing protection against other fish that might find the shovelnose catfish a tasty dinner.

class: Bony fishes

order: Catfishes

family South American pimelodid catfishes

length: 2 feet

diet: small fish and crustaceans

method of reproduction: egg layer

home: streams in eastern South America


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Oyster Toadfish

Oyster Toadfish

Opsanus tau

The oyster toadfish is arguably the ugliest arid noisiest fish off the eastern coast of North America. It earns this distinction from its head—a large structure to begin with. Featured prominently there is a huge mouth surrounded by fleshy flaps that look like bits of brown seaweed. The sounds emitted by the oyster toadfish do even less to enhance the creature’s reputation. At night, it grunts and growls, perhaps part of a courtship ritual. The fish also makes unpleasant sounds when upset.

Oyster toadfish live on the sandy or muddy bottoms of shallow water, where they spend much of their time hiding among eelgrass. They wait until prey comes near, then quickly snap at their victims. Toadfish have powerful jaws and many strong teeth. They feed on mollusks, shrimp, crabs, worms, and small fish. Sometimes large toadfish even eat smaller toadfish.

These fish spawn in the summer. The eggs are yellow and quite large. They are laid near the shore under rocks, among debris, and in other small, protected places. The male is extremely vicious while he watches over the eggs, snapping his powerful jaw shut on anything that comes too close. He loses weight during this time because he does not eat regularly. He eats only if he manages to grab a fish or other small animal that happens to come near the nest. The offspring hatch in about three weeks.

class Bony fishes

order Toadfish

family: Toadfish

length: up to 15 inches

weight: 2 pounds

diet mollusks, crabs, and small fish

method of reproduction: egg layer

home: Atlantic coast of North America from Maine to Florida, and Cuba


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