National Geographic Society Newsroom

Suckermouth Armored Catfish: Freshwater Species of the Week

  A graduate student at Auburn University has just identified a new species of suckermouth armored catfish. He made the discovery from five specimens that were collected in 2008 by DePaul University scientist Windsor Aguirre in Ecuador’s Santa Rosa River (map). Aguirre had sent them to Auburn for identification. The Auburn scientist, Milton Tan, told...

This newly discovered species of suckermouth catfish is 2.8 inches long (7 centimeters). Photo: Milton Tan

 

A graduate student at Auburn University has just identified a new species of suckermouth armored catfish. He made the discovery from five specimens that were collected in 2008 by DePaul University scientist Windsor Aguirre in Ecuador’s Santa Rosa River (map). Aguirre had sent them to Auburn for identification.

The Auburn scientist, Milton Tan, told National Geographic’s Christine Dell’Amore that the small fish (2.8 inches, or 7 centimeters, long) is unusual because it doesn’t have armored plates on the sides of its head, unlike related species.

Instead, it may be a “missing link” between other groups of catfish.

Tan named the fish Cordylancistrus santarosensis after its home river.

The new species is another example of the tremendous biodiversity that lurks in the world’s rivers.

See more photos of the suckermouth armored catfish.

 

Brian Clark Howard is a writer and editor with NationalGeographic.com. He was formerly an editor at The Daily Green and E/The Environmental Magazine and has contributed to many publications, including TheAtlantic.com, FastCompany.com, MailOnline.com, PopularMechanics.com, Yahoo!, MSN and elsewhere. His latest book, with Kevin Shea, is Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.

About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of the world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.