And Algore Thinks Global Warming Is the Problem!

 

Pictured: The Bizarre South American Armoured Fish Found In A Leicestershire Canal


Daily Mail(UK) ^ | March 26, 2009

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1165011/Pictured-The-bizarre-South-American-armoured-fish-Leicestershire-canal.html

 

With its bony-plated armour and spiny fins, this clearly isn't a fish that welcomes a battering.

Nor is it a creature any angler who knows his chips would expect to find in a peaceful English waterway.

So imagine schoolboy Shaun Brown's surprise when he spotted the bizarre creature from the towpath of the Grand Union Canal at Wigston, Leicestershire.

 

Foreign friend: This armoured suckermouth catfish, pictured on a fence post, was found by angler Shawn Brown at the Grand Union canal near Leicester

 

Fine cast: Shawn Brown, 14, beside the Grand Union Avon canal in Leicester near to the spot where he found a rare catfish dead on the bank

The 14 year old saw the ugly critter lying on the bank and scrabbled down to grab it. Closer inspection revealed its teeth were pretty alarming too, but luckily for Shaun it was dead.

Excited by his unusual discovery, but stumped as to what it was, he perched it on top of a nearby fence post, photographed it and then dashed off to his home nearby with his curious 'catch' in hand to investigate what it was.

He emailed his snaps to an expert, who has now managed to identify the 10in monster as an armoured suckermouth catfish - a type of freshwater fish that normally lives 7,000 miles away in tropical Panama, Costa Rica and South America. It is thought to be the first time one has been found in our waters.

But there's no need for fishermen to be alarmed; for despite its fearsome looks this beast from the deep is a vegetarian. And, it seems, no match for the British weather.

Aquarists reckon it is improbable that it has migrated here due to global warming. Instead, it was probably released into the canal after growing too big for somebody's aquarium and - unsuited to its chilly new home in the canal - ended up dying.

Shaun said: 'I was walking home along the toe-path when I saw it just lying by the water’s edge.

'It wasn’t moving but I could see its teeth which looked menacing and were sticking out if its mouth.

'It had a really hard back and had an ugly look on its face. I thought it was some sort of monster fish at first.'

 

An armoured catfish, common in the rivers of Central America, like the one found by Shawn Brown in Leicestershire

Shaun, who lives with his father Alan, 45, a service engineer, and his mother Helen, 41, who runs a balloon shop, added: 'I was really excited because I’d never seen any fish like it in the canal and I wanted to tell someone about it.

‘I usually catch perch and pike but this was something really amazing, it blew me away. I can’t wait to go to South America and see one in its normal environment.’'

John Hall, who runs All Seasons Angling tackle shop 300 yards from where Shaun found it, said: 'He came in here and showed me the photo.

"He is a good little fisherman and as soon as he saw it Shaun knew it didn't belong here. It's scales were very shiny and very hard, almost like a crocodile.

'He went home and looked it up on the internet to try and see what it was but he had to send it off to experts to identify it.

'It had teeth as well and I'm sure it would scare a lot of anglers if they saw it swimming up river. But it looks worse than it actually is.'

Armoured suckermouth catfish pose no threat to humans although it is not known what effect they would have on native fish if they were to ever breed here.

Their tough armoured plating acts as a defence mechanism to ward off predators in tropical waters.

Ian Wellby, a fisheries scientist at Brooksby College, Leicestershire, said: 'It is not something you want in your freshwaters but it is quite harmless.

'It is the first one I have ever heard of in Britain before. It is a warm water fish and could not survive our winters.'

DID YOU KNOW? ARMOURED SUCKERMOUTH CATFISH:

  • Grow up to 2ft long. Females are bigger than males.
  • Herbivores, they feed mainly on algae - but will eat almost any detritus.
  • Sucker-like lips enable them to cling to surfaces and rasp off food.
  • Live in tropical South and Central America. Able to survive in very fast and dirty water. 
  • Rapid breeders, females lay their eggs on submerged stones, logs or in holes.
  • Males guard the eggs, which hatch in 3 to 5 days.
  • Natives reported to eat the eggs as caviar.
  • Popular aquarium fish because they provide a 'clean-up service' for the tank by hoovering up algae.
  • Sometimes called 'plecos' or 'plecs' after Latin name 'hypostomus plecostomus'.
  • More than 100 different species of suckermouth catfish. Some can live out of water for up to 30 hours.
Josie06 Josie06
56-60, F
Mar 26, 2009