Ripsaw catfish

Oxydoras niger

About This Animal

SIZE: They can grow up to 3 feet

RANGE: They are found throughout many of the major river systems of northern South America

HABITAT: Muddy areas of slower moving water or lakes

DIET: A large proportion of the diet is composed of benthic crustaceans and the larval forms of various insects

ON EXHIBIT: Flooded Amazon exhibit in River Journey

The gentle Niger Ripsaw Catfish or Plated Catfish is the largest member of the Dorididae family of catfish. They have very sharp armored scales running down their lateral lines, plus sharp thorn-like hooks attached to their razor sharp scales. Sometimes literature refers to the doradids as “Talking Catfish” due to the fact that they can be heard to make audible noises, almost as if they are speaking to one another.  An omnivorous detrivore, they will consume anything edible they find as they sift through the substrate.

The niger takes a long time to reach sexual maturity, and being slow to reproduce has placed them as code red on the endangered species list.