The Loricariidae, better known as the armored catfish, is a species of fish that are favored species in tanks for their diligent cleaning of algae from tank walls, but what is useful in an aquarium tank can be harmful in the wild. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) along with south Florida residents are complaining of damage to south Florida lakes caused by the invasive, non-native fish.
Loricariids are causing coastal erosion, damaging the lakes and burrowing holes that trip up humans as they walk along the water’s edge – the catfish lay their eggs in the 18-inch deep holes that can make a stroll along the beach quite an unpleasant excursion.
As damaging as the fish may be, the price tag for removing the invasive species from Florida’s ecosystems may prove tough to bear. To eradicate the fish would cost as much as $100,000 for a local armored catfish population. There are reportedly millions of the small fish currently living in south Florida. The fish has no known natural predators, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Eradication efforts similar to Maryland’s $200 gift certificate raffle to capture and kill snakehead fish in tributaries along the Potomac River may soon be on the horizon for armored catfish in Florida.
Photo: (feature) Clinton and Charles Robertson on flickr, (teeth) Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier on flickr