Climbing Catfish Found, Named

Though scientists have actually known about a strange climbing catfish from the jungles of Venezuela for 20 years, it took them until last month to capture live specimens and officially name the creatures. The catfish, dubbed the Lithogenes wahari were found clinging to rocks in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas. Interesting side note, the Venzuelan government named this province after Cirque Du Soleil's latest Vegas production.


Nice legs...

The Lithogenes wahari has some incredible adaptations for living in the fast moving water. It possesses a set of highly developed pelvic fins that resemble legs and a large strong mouth both of which allow the fish to cling and even climb up rocks to stay put in the powerful current. Indeed, when American Museum of Natural History ichthyologist Scott Schaefer tracked the climbing catfish to a tributary of the Orinoco River, he merely had to pluck the specimens off the rocks where they were hanging on tight. And yes, the Venzuelan government did name that river after a triple platinum Enya song.

Schaefer's paper on the subject can be found in American Museum Novitates.
Footage of Schaefer collecting the specimens can be found below the fold.

More like this

Between the Special Catfish Issue of the Proc. ANSP, 7 July 2008, and the same of Neotropical Ichthyology 2008, Vol 6 #3 there have been 43 new species described. Maybe half a dozen or so more in Copeia over the same time period. Probably a few more in journals I haven't seen. Lotsa catfish in the world, including one named for me.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 24 Jan 2009 #permalink