* Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2006. FishBase, version (02/2006). 
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. These fish are known as the naked sucker-mouth catfishes or the climbing catfishes.
These catfishes are found in torrential streams in the Andean area of South America and Panama.
Astroblepus catfishes are typically small, less than 15 centimetres (6 in). The largest species reaches 30 cm (12 in). 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. 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.
Some of these fish are able to live at up to 3500 m altitude and climb the faces of waterfalls. Their climbing ability comes from specially developed pelvic fins as well as their suckermouth. 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. They feed upon invertebrates such as caterpillars, and annelids.
1. ^ "Astroblepus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=164384. Retrieved 2007-05-04.
Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License