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Fork-snouted catfish

Oxydoras niger

Description: The Fork-snouted is often referred to as the Ripsaw catfish. The sharp, bony scutes along its side give it a prehistoric look. The eyes are located on the sides and back portion of the head. Their dorsal coloration varies from shades of dark gray to almost black, with underside being lighter in color. Huge barbels accentuate the large lips.

Size: They can reach lengths of 40 inches (1 m).

Behavior: Fork-snouted catfish are active during the night and often form schools when feeding.

Diet: These bottom-feeding fish eat insect larvae, small crustaceans and detritus. For a fish this large, their suctorial mouth is quite small and locating prey is aided by the prominent lips and barbels.

Senses: Taste receptors are located in the top and bottom of the mouth; eyesight is of little use in the muddy waters. Barbels aid in detecting prey.

Communication: These catfish are reported to make audible noises.

Reproduction: Eggs are released into the water and fertilized externally by the male. Adults do not guard the eggs or tend the young. The eggs are not guarded and young receive no care.

Habitat/range: This tropical freshwater fish live in slow-moving streams and lakes throughout South America.

Status: Not evaluated by IUCN.