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Wild Catfish Moves North

by the Fish Site Editor
16 October 2009, at 1:00am

FLORIDA, US - A non-native catfish has been found in the north of the state.

It did not take long for Quinton White, the Executive Director of the Marine Science Research Institute at Jacksonville University, to call back with the answer, reports St Augustine Record. It had been only hour or so since he had stopped by the fish market and picked up the unusual little catfish.

One of the crabbers, a man with decades of experience on our St Johns, had caught it a few days before in one of his traps not too far from the Shands bridge. He had put it in his shedding tank with the intention of finding out what it was. When he described it to the reporter, he sent the fish up with the crabs and soft-shells and the reporter called Mr White.

It was an odd-looking little creature. At first glance, it appeared to be a typical freshwater catfish. It had the basic shape, the fins, the whiskers and mouth but the skin was different. Actually, it didn't have what would generally be called skin, or even skin with scales, but rather what looked like a row of narrow plates aligned across his body. They were in bands like on an armadillo.

Mr White identified it as Hoplosternum littorale, otherwise known as a brown hoplo. He said that it was a non-native species first reported in 1995 and that it was now well established in central Florida and obviously moving north.

the Fish Site Editor