The natural history of Stauroglanis gouldingi

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A pair of Brazilian biologists have made some interesting new discoveries on the natural history of a tiny, sand-dwelling candiru catfish from the Rio Negro in Brazil.

Jansen Zuanon of INPA and Ivan Sizama of Campinas University in Sao Paulo studied the biology of the sarcoglanidine trichomycterid Stauroglanis gouldingi and reported their findings in the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

The tiny species, which was described by de Pinna in 1989 from the the Dara River, lives on the vast sandbanks of Brazil's Rio Negro and is well-camouflaged to blend in.

However, besides information on the habitat in which it was collected, very little was known about the biology of the fish before this study.

By studying the behaviour of the fish in a stream of the Negro, the scientists found that it lived among ephermeral ripples over sand during the day, but buries itself at night.

Sazima and Zuanon say that the fish is a microcarnivore and feeds on tiny aquatic insects and swims in a pattern in which it systematically swims across sand ripples in search of food.

For more details on the catfish, read the full paper: Zuanon, J. and I. Sazima (2004) - Natural History of Stauroglanis gouldingi (Siluriformes: Trichomycteridae) a miniature sand-dwelling candiru from central Amazonian streamlets. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. Vol. 15. No. 3.