The Royal Panaque constitutes a recently discovered species within an extraordinary fish genus. We currently know of only seven known species in this unique animal genus, and like all the others, this one is what is known as an armored catfish.
This creature remains herbivorous in nature with one unique adaptation. It consumes not only algae but also feeds on wood. Specialized bacteria in their digestive tract make this possible.
All known species of armored catfish appear to be endemic to the Amazon Basin and Orinoco Basin, in South America.
Royal Panaque Physical Characteristics
The fish does not possess scales as most other fish do. In fact, the body of this unique creature grows encased in relatively heavy armor. The lone exception to this protection is the underside, which is soft. That is their Achilles Heel.
In coloring, the Royal Panaque is principally a light gray. Horizontally oriented dark gray squiggles run the length of the body.
The species also attains an average length of approximately 17 in (43 cm). Due to the weight of their armor, they are poor swimmers. However, the Royal Panaque possess a powerful sucker-like mouth, which they use to cling to rocks or submerged logs.