Sunday, July 8, 2012

Plotosus Catfish

Plotosus lineatus
Today let's talk about the Plotosus genus, which is made up of nine different species of Eel-Catfish. All nine species can be found in proximity to the Indian Ocean, ranging from Madagascar all the way over to New Guinea. They are typically found in salt water areas, though some do swim up streams and freshwater rivers. One of the species, P. lineatus, is the only Catfish found in Coral Reefs!

These Eel-Catfish are named for their long, slender, eel-like bodies, but from there they vary in appearance. Some have stripes, some are solidly colored, and others have gradient patterns. They even very in size, witht he largest (P. canius) measuring around 1.5m, while some of the others (like P. lineatus) are only about a foot. All species, especially as juveniles, prefer to swim in schools, rather than alone. Some of these groups can number into the hundreds. The schools feeds by trawling the bottom with their barbels, and by stirring up small invertebrates in the substrate.

Eight of the nine Plotosus species are venomous. They have spines on their dorsal and pectoral fins that can be incredibly dangerous. Though it is rare, these stings can be fatal for humans.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Indian Ocean
Size : Length between 14-60in (34-150cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Siluriformes
Family : Plotosidae -- Genus : Plotosus

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