Indonesian societies may be very familiar with catfish. However, are they also familiar with catfish with jaguar-like skin? This must be a new thing. The scientist have recently found the species of catfish and published it in Zootaxa journal on Thursday (10/3/2011).
In terms of appearance, according to the scientists, catfish that is recently found has spotted, cream skin, just like jaguar’s skin. Because of the similarity in appearance, the jaguar catfish is subsequently named Stenolicnus ix. In Mayan language, “ix” refers to jaguar species.
Stenolicnus ix has some prominent differences from any other animals in the same genus. The species has a barbell nasal with different length from that of other species in the same genus. Barbell nasal is a tactile organ that stretches from the mouth; it seems like cat’s mustache.
The species was found as a part of expedition journey in the northern area of Amazon’s forest, Para, Brazil. It is a tropical forest area with acreage of 4 hectares. The scientists found it when exploring the base of Curua River, by filtering the sands and leafy trashes using small nets.
“We found the fish when we conducted a research at a small lake. The species is very small; that is why it is difficult to find. Therefore, we managed to get only one sample,” noted Wolmar Wosiack, one of the researchers and a curator of the ichthyology collection at Emilio Goeldi Museum, Para.
In addition to the catfish with jaguar-like skin, 15 other species were also found at the same waters that has 5 meters of width and 1 meter of depth. Wosiack found the catfish species in collaboration with his partners, Daniel Coutinho of Federal University, Para and Luciano Montag, a graduate student at the same university.
The expedition is organized by Emilio Goeldi Museum and Conservation International, Brazil. It was conducted in 2008 and involved 30 scientists, lead by Alexandro Aleixo, a researcher and a curator of bird collection at Goeldi Museum. The exploration was conducted at a forest covering an area of 12 million hectares.