Hideous, Yet Adorable – Six New Species Of Tentacle-Nosed Catfish Discovered In Amazon·
No one knows just how many species live in the Amazon rainforest—scientists estimate that it’s home to one-third of the world’s animal and plant species. There are still thousands out there waiting to be discovered—like these six new catfish with faces covered in tentacles.
“We discovered six new species of really cool catfish from the Amazon and Orinoco River basins. They have tentacles on their snouts, they have spines that stick out from their heads, almost like claws, to protect themselves and their nests, and their body is covered with bony plates like armor,” says Lesley de Souza, a conservation scientist and ichthyologist at Chicago’s Field Museum and lead author of a paper in Zootaxa describing the new species. “They’re warriors, they’re fish superheroes.”
The new catfish are all members of the genus Ancistrus, also known as bristlenose catfish. If you’ve ever had an aquarium, you might know them as the sucker-mouthed “algae-eaters” that help keep tanks clean. These river-dwelling fish are between three and six inches long, and the males have tentacles erupting from their snouts.
Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT/Wikimedia Commons
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