Xyliphius sofiae, the eyeless catfish

Xyliphius sofiae

Xyliphius sofiae. Credit: Mark Sabaj/Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

A new species of catfish from the dark, murky waters of the Amazon River has been named after the discoverer’s daughter. Xyliphius sofiae was first discovered years ago but not until recently given a species name. X. sofiae is a small catfish with some unique characteristics. Living in the sediment rich deep waters of the Amazon River where light rarely reaches, X. sofiae had no eyes and its skin lacks pigmentation giving it a translucent quality.

Little is known about Xyliphius sofiae. It is believed that it uses its long barbels to feel its way through the dark and that its diet is probably small invertebrates. A similarly small and blind catfish, Micromyzon orinoco, from the Orinoco River was also recently named after its discovery in the late 70′s. The dark waters of the Amazon River have rarely been studies and may hold other unusual fish species. To discuss X. sofiae or M. orinoco visit the General Aquaria Discussion forum.

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