The Royal Panaque is a recently discovered species within an extraordinary fish genus. There are now only seven known species in this unique animal genus. Like all other known species within its genus, the Royal Panaque is what is known as an armored catfish. This creature is herbivorous in nature, with one unique adaptation. Along with the six other known species of armored catfish, the Royal Panaque consumes not only algae, but also feeds on wood! Specialized bacteria in their digestive tract make this possible. All known species of armored catfish are endemic to the Amazon Basin and Orinoco Basin, in South America.
Royal Panaque Physical Characteristics
The Royal Panaque does not possess scales as most other fish do. This body of this unique creature is actually encased in relatively heavy armor! The lone exception to this protection is the underside, which is soft. In coloring, the Royal Panaque is principally a light gray. Horizontally oriented dark gray squiggles run the length of the body. The species 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 possesses a powerful sucker-like mouth. These they use to cling to rocks or submerged logs.
Todd Sain Sr.