Hellenica World


Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Ostariophysi
Ordo: Siluriformes
Familia: Astroblepidae
Genus: Astroblepus


* Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2006. FishBase, version (02/2006). [1]

Astroblepus is a genus of catfish (order Siluriformes) which contains 54 species. It is the sole genus in the family Astroblepidae, the most species-rich family in which there is a single genus.[2] These fish are known as the naked sucker-mouth catfishes or the climbing catfishes.[2]

Distribution and habitiat

These catfishes are found in torrential streams in the Andean area of South America and Panama.[2]


Astroblepus catfishes are typically small, less than 15 centimetres (6 in).[3] The largest species reaches 30 cm (12 in).[2] These fish have a suckermouth like those of Loricariids. They have two pairs of barbels, maxillary and nasal. The dorsal fin spine lacks a locking mechanism.[2] These fish also have odontodes, tiny teeth on their skin. All species exhibit a conical, pointy type on their fin rays like that found in other Loricarioids; three species also exhibit a blunt type that is only found on their skin.[3]


Some of these fish are able to live at up to 3500 m altitude and climb the faces of waterfalls.[2] Their climbing ability comes from specially developed pelvic fins as well as their suckermouth.[3] In their neotropical Andean habitat, dry and wet seasons are quite extreme, and odontodes may help in sensing food, mates, and water flow, as well as help cling to surfaces.[3] They feed upon invertebrates such as caterpillars, and annelids.[3]


1. ^ "Astroblepus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=164384. Retrieved 2007-05-04.
2. ^ a b c d e f Nelson, Joseph, S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. ISBN 0471250317.
3. ^ a b c d e Schaefer, Scott A.; Buitrago-Suárez, Uriel Angel (2002). "Odontode Morphology and Skin Surface Features of Andean Astroblepid Catfishes (Siluriformes, Astroblepidae)" (PDF). Journal of Morphology 254 (2): 139. doi:10.1002/jmor.10024. PMID 12353298. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/98516106/PDFSTART?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0.

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