The Rhino Catfish (Pterygoplichthys scrophus) is a sail-finned amoured fish. It is also called the Janitor Fish.
The Rhino Catfish is black to dark-brown with a large sailfin dorsal fin (back fin), a ridged, armoured body, and two horn-like protrusions from its head that looks like the horn of a rhinoceros. The protrusions are actualy nostril flaps so that water doesn’t get up its nose. It has a long sac-like lung to breathe air. Its body is completely covered in small plates that look like armour. It has a suckermouth to suck up algae and filter food from the ocean seabed. It has light-coloured eyes.
It measures 50-70 centimetres (20-27 inches) long.
The Rhino Catfish is found in the Orinoco, Amazon, Madgalena, Maracaibo, Parana, Parnaiba, and Sao Francisco wetland systems in South America. It prefers slow-moving streams, floodplain lakes, and marshes.
It eats plants, wood, and algae, as well as the meat of dead animals (carrion), such a dead fish. It is a scavenger, cleaning up the ocean floor, which is why it is often called the Janitor Fish.
The Rhino Catfish is a bottom-dwelling fish. Males dig a tunnel into mud river banks so that females can lay her eggs in a safe location.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
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