Armored Catfish: 3 Things To Know About The Fish Destroying South Florida Lakes

 @AmandaTVScoop
on April 23 2012 7:43 PM

A species of armored catfish called Loricariidae have been wreaking havoc in South Florida's lakes. Non-native to the waters, the fish have been eating away at the lakes, causing erosion, and are even responsible for tripping humans by burrowing holes along the edge of the water.

Without a natural predator, armored catfish now number in the millions in South Florida, reported the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The armored catfish wasn't always there, though. The fish are natives of South America.

What does the armored catfish look like?

The back of the armored catfish has rugged scales, as well as spiky fins. The outer skin of the armored catfish is difficult to penetrate. Armored catfish also have suckered mouths that clean algae from tanks, reports Yahoo's The Sideshow.

What damage can the armored catfish look like?

The armored catfish lays its eggs in an 18-inch-deep hole along the side of lakes. These holes often become traps for humans when they unexpectedly walk into one. Besides being mildly annoying for innocent lake strollers, the armored catfish are also causing some damage to lake resident's wallets.

Armored catfish can erode more than 10 feet from the water's edge, reported the Associated Press. The cost of the damage can range from $100,000 and $1 million, depending on the area.

How do you catch an armored catfish?

Many residents of Royal Lake have attempted spearfishing to eliminate the fish from their waters. Other methods include installing wire mesh or spike rush, a dense aquatic plant, said Ralph LaPrairie, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Fishing hooks are said to be ineffective, but nets and spears are reportedly more successful in catching the armored catfish.

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