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Banjo Catfish

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Matilda Cruz
Matilda double majored in zoology and animal behavior at the University of Hawaii. She’s been an animal lover from a young age and knew she wanted to study them even more for her career. She’s always looking for ways to spread her animal knowledge.

Native to the tropical rivers of South America, banjo catfish are among the smallest members of the wider catfish family. The banjo catfish got its name from the unique shape of its body, which is reminiscent of the stringed instrument. There are around 43 different variations of the fish categorized by science as Aspredinidae. The banjo catfish is also known as the burrowing catfish and guitarrita catfish.

Interesting facts about the banjo catfish:

  • Banjo catfish are carnivorous scavengers and are not fussy eaters. They’re slow-moving fish, so they’ll eat almost anything they can find.
  • Banjo catfish are nocturnal and are not social creatures as they prefer to live solitary lives. They’re also very timid and will hide from observers.
  • In the wild, the banjo catfish thrives in slow-moving freshwater and prefers an environment with plenty of sand and natural debris that they can burrow into.
  • The banjo catfish’s skin texture is rough due to the high level of keratin in their skin. The texture and coloring of their skin make for effective camouflage and can easily be mistaken for tree bark in the water.
  • While the banjo catfish doesn’t make for a good meal, it has become a popular home aquarium fish.
  • The banjo catfish can grow up to 15 inches long. The smallest member of the species is the eel-tailed banjo catfish, which reaches just four inches long once fully grown.
  • A female banjo catfish can produce up to 200 eggs which are then fertilized externally by a male.
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