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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's
  • River Scout

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs throughout South American freshwater rivers and basins: Amazon River, São Francisco and Essequibo River basins.
  • Often found over mud in slower moving streams and lakes; prefers large rivers.

Physical Characteristics

  • Coloration covering body is brown-grey; light brown sharp armor-like scales on the sides of its body; thorn-like hooks attached to scales.
  • Has mouth on bottom side of body with barbels at corner of mouth to sense food.
  • Common length of 23 inches (59 cm), max length of 39 inches (100 cm).

Diet / Feeding

  • Benthic feeders; omnivore.
  • Diet consists primarily of seeds, fruits, larvae of insects, invertebrates and crustaceans.

Reproduction / Growth

  • An oviparous, or egg-laying, species.
  • Spawning occurs in lower reaches of the Amazon River Basin.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Also known as “talking catfish” or “plated catfish.”
  • Schooling fish.
  • Harmless to humans.
  • Can be heard making audible noises.