An egg find in the Amazon

Twig catfish (also known as farlowella) get their name from their elongated twig-like appearance. We have several in the anaconda exhibit that can usually be found right upfront, sticking against the glass by their mouths or creeping along the sunken logs. They are algae eaters, after all, grazing on the algae is how they earn their keep.

A male twig catfish protects its eggs

Some of the fish have paired off and are treating visitors to a very special sight: eggs! Twig catfish usually lay eggs on open vertical surfaces such as submerged vegetation or rocks—or in this case, the window. The eggs lie in a single layer and are guarded by the male.

You'll find this highlight in the anaconda exhibit. Which is more exciting—giant snakes or tiny fish eggs?!

The males have their work cut out for them. Large discus in the exhibit are eyeing the tasty clutch of eggs, so the farlowella are having to stay on guard. In this video you'll see how the catfish have to swat at the ever-present discus.

If the farlowella manage to protect their eggs from predators, the larva will hatch into the exhibit. Though, just like in the wild, most do not survive. Either way the eggs can only be seen on exhibit for a couple days.

Eggs, twig catfish and a hungry, hungry discus

A discus: Mmmm, fish eggs

The next time you visit the Aquarium, head up to the Amazon Rainforest exhibits. You might just see a very cool fish behavior right before your eyes! Plus, a glimpse of a steamy tropical rainforest is a great way to escape the snow. Just sayin'.

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