Tuesday, December 27, 2005

AMAZONIAN MANATEES - Manatee-biting catfish invade Florida

The Daytona Beach News has an article on the threat to Floridean Manatees from a species of catfish which originally threatened the Brazilian Manatees...
As the manatees return to Blue Spring State Park this winter, they're being greeted by the invasive catfish that love them -- or the algae on their skin, anyway.

In recent years a species of catfish native to Brazil has expanded into the park's waters, and thrived.

The first few were spotted in 1999, and now they are estimated in the thousands. With their shark-like movements and manatee-biting habits, they're among the park's least popular denizens.

Rumor has it that the fish -- known as suckermouth sailfin catfish, or more commonly, armored catfish -- are descendants of aquarium escapees. They are often seen grazing on the manatees, which toss and twirl to try and throw them off.