Friday, October 3, 2008

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish

The whole purpose of this trip was to collect fish, so I should probably write at least one entry about the fish right? The most common group of fishes that we collected were catfishes. You're probably familiar with the catfishes that live in the rivers here in the U.S. but what you might not know is that there are at least 37 families of catfishes that contain over 3000 species. In other words, 1 out of every 20 vertibrate species is a catfish. You would not believe the diversity within this group. The longest catfish grows to 5 m (~15 ft) and the largest to over 600 lb. Obviously we didn't catch catfishes this big, but we still saw a huge diversity. We collected relatives of the smallest parasitic catfish known as the candiru. The candiru usually is a parasite on other fish's gills, but is most famous because it is also know to crawl up the ureathra of unsuspecting swimmers in the Amazon. Thats why you shouldn't pee in the water! I only have fish pictures from one day, but you should still be able to get a good idea of the diversity and neat fishes we got to see. Here are the 10 species we collected in one day. The small tube with the orange cap is a tissue vial that is an inch or inch and a half long. It is in the pictures to show size of fish since we didn't have a ruler that day. Sorry I can't even begin to try and identify all of these for you, if they even have names.

A species of Penaci - the only type of fish that eats wood

A relative of the candiru

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