Armored Catfish
YouTube: Catfish and Carp

Spearing and Taste-Testing Invasive Armored Catfish in Florida

The suckermouth armored catfish is not the most appealing-looking eating fish.

It feels like we are hearing about a new invasive species every week in Florida. Both the salt and freshwater ecosystems down there are being inundated with animals that simply do not belong. Many of these species coming from places like South America. The invasive aliens then either feast upon native fish species, or eat their forage, causing untold amounts of damage.

One of the uglier invaders is a member of the family Loricariidae, also known by the common name of armored catfish or sailfin catfish. As the name implies, they have armored plates covering their bodies.

These bottom feeders are popular aquarium fish, which is probably how they ended up in local waters when someone released their pet. At least some anglers are working to keep this South American invader at bay. The angler in today's video decides to try spearing some. Then, he bravely decides to try cooking one to test the taste of these ugly fish.

All we will say about this one is that this man is braver than us. That catfish looked most unappealing, even after cooking. Those bony plates give this freshwater fish species an appearance that only a mother could love. There are a few different variants of these fish, but these animals are usually found in places like the Amazon River in Brazil. Although they are found naturally in fisheries as far north as Central America. These fish are sometimes also called "plecos," and South and Central Florida is not the only place they have invaded.

Another variety of armored catfish, Hypostomus plecostomus, has been found to have a breeding population in parts of Texas. For the most part, they are known for eating algae and small invertebrates. The algae-eating aspect has caused some issues. Most notably, these fish have started harassing manatees in some areas as they try to eat the algae growing on the animals. While it does not harm the animals directly, it does cause undue stress. And the manatees already have enough issues.

Because they eat mostly garbage, these fish are not normally caught by hook and line. So, if you are looking to help with the population control, these would be good ones to target with a spear or bowfishing gear. Test out your skills, and help native fish populations at the same time. Sounds like a win-win to us.

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For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels