Royal Panaque Facts
- The Royal Panaque constitutes a recently discovered species within an extraordinary fish genus. In fact, we currently know of only seven known species in this rather unique animal genus.
- Like all the other incredible species contained in the genus, it remains a truly unique one. That’s because, like its related species, it classifies as what many have given the name of armored catfish.
- Further, it has a most astonishing characteristic that separates it from most other fish. The distinct trait of this recently discovered animal remains the nature of its rather highly unique diet.
- That’s due to an amazing fact. This amazing and truly surprising fish ranks as one of only a handful of fish species of its kind. As a result of an evolutionary adaptation, it and its relatives actually consume wood.
Royal Panaque Physical Description
Most notably, physically, at least, the remarkable Royal Panaque does not possess scales as most other fish do. In fact, the body of this unique creature grows encased in relatively heavy armor.
Yet, the lone exception to this protection remains the underside of the animal. This part of the body of the fish remains soft. That, therefore, represents the Achilles Heel of the animal.
Furthermore, in coloring, the Royal Panaque appears principally a light gray. Horizontally oriented dark gray squiggles also run the length of the body. As a result, it has a highly distinctive visual appearance.
The animal also attains an average length of roughly 17 in (43 cm). Due to the weight of its armor, it remains a poor swimmer. However, the animal does possess a powerful sucker-like mouth. This it uses to cling to rocks or submerged logs.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Siluriformes
- Family: Loricariidae
- Genus: Panaque
- Species: P. nigrolineatus
Royal Panaque Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The recently discovered, and rather fascinating, Royal Panaque has a rather specific habitat range. It evolved as solely endemic to the large river basins in the countries of Colombia, Brazil, and Venezuela.
More specifically, these river basins consist of two enormous, and vitally important ones in the region. These, therefore, consist of the Amazon River Basin, and the Orinoco Basin, both in South America.
Remarkably, this incredible creature remains herbivorous in nature. However, this holds true with one unique adaptation. The fascinating fish consumes not only algae but also feeds on wood. Quite specialized bacteria in its digestive tract make this possible.