The Banjo catfish is native to the Orinoco Delta in South America. With roughly 43 species, the Aspredinidae family of catfishes (order Siluriformes) is a tiny South American catfish family. It can be found all the way from Venezuela to Brazil, as well as along Trinidad’s coast. Aspredinids can be found in almost all of South America’s major tropical rivers.
The Aspredinidae are widely considered as a component of the predominantly Asian superfamily Sisoroidea as the companion piece to the family Erethistidae, despite the fact that only a few taxa in the family have been reported recently.
The Banjo catfish thrives in both freshwater and brackish water environments. It prefers streams that are closer to the coast than many other catfish species found in delta waters. Although they are considered a calm species, they can become violent and territorial during spawning season, as do other bottom dwellers. In comparison to other catfish species, they also have smaller barbels.
The term banjo catfishes relate to their general body shape, which includes a sunken head and a slender caudal peduncle, giving the appearance of a banjo in some species. The adipose fin is absent in banjo catfish. The dorsal spine-locking mechanism is absent in most species. The outermost layer of skin can be removed.
Hoplomyzon papillatus has a size of fewer than 2.0 centimeters and Aspredo aspired has a size of roughly 38 centimeters, however, most are less than 15 cm. The majority of species have cryptic colouring. Alarm cells and the terror response are absent in aspredinids, as they are in other ostariophysans.
The banjo catfish is Brown in color, with huge dark splotches on a sandy yellow background, giving it the appearance of tree bark. In the natural, this fish may almost vanish against a background of fallen leaves. Every species seems to have its own body pattern, which consists of a mix of dark and bright patches. Fish skin is rough and chunky, which aids in disguising and protection.
The fins are huge, well-developed, and color-matched to the body. There is a sharp spine on the first ray of the pectoral fin. The size of the pectoral fins varies, and the tail fin is long; a distinguishing trait of this catfish is that it lacks a fatty fin, which has vanished over time. The mouth of a catfish is huge and open, with six barbels. It has dark-colored eyes that are very tiny.
Many aspredinids are generic omnivores that eat aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates as well as organic waste; however, members of the Amaralia family tend to concentrate on eating other catfishes’ eggs. They can swim by undulating their bodies, as do most fish, but they can also drive themselves along the bottom by pumping water through their gill openings. When agitated, several species can create sounds by waving their pectoral fin spines back and forth.
Banjo catfish can be found in a variety of environments, including shallow backwaters, deep river channels, and tidal estuaries. Some aspredinids appear to be semifossorial, lying partially buried in dead leaves or other moist surfaces during the day. Coastal rivers and brackish water habitats like mangrove swamps are home to members of the Aspredininae subfamily.
With banjo catfish, the female attaches its eggs to her belly and brings them to shallow water to hatch after the male fertilizes them. This behavior has been speculated to allow the eggs improved to respond to sufficient oxygen because these catfish reside in muddy areas. In most species, adult females are normally larger than males; however, this is inverted in Hoplomyzon sexpapilostoma. In Aspredo and Platystacus, males have a considerably longer dorsal fin spine than females.