Language English Ripsaw catfish OngletsDescriptionDistinguishing featuresThe ripsaw catfish is a large fish, in fact, it is the largest member of the Doradidae family. It has a robust body, especially the anterior part, and is dark grey, almost black in colour. It has a series of thorn-like, bony projections called scutes along the side of its body, and a long conical rostrum. Its mouth, with large lips and six short barbels that look like tentacles, is well adapted for suction feeding. ReproductionRipsaw catfish reproduce at the beginning of the rainy season when water levels are high, with the female laying up to 250,000 eggs. Sexual maturity is reached at a length of about 54 cm. DietRipsaw catfish feed by sucking up detritus and invertebrates (mainly insect larvae) from sediments and river bottoms. PredatorsRipsaw catfish is known for its delicious meat that resembles salmon in colour, and for its importance in Amazonian public markets. HabitatThey are found in the Amazon and Essequibo river basins (in Guyana). During the rainy season, ripsaw catfish live in open lakes and flooded forests (igapó and várzea). As the floodwaters start to recede, they return to the main river channel where they meet up with other ripsaw catfish. Ecology, behaviourRipsaw catfish, like many fish species, engage in an annual fish run known as the piracema. At the onset of the dry season, they begin a massive migration upstream, over distances varying from 100 to 400 km. The phenomenon is not yet fully understood, but one theory is that these displacements would allow for species dispersal as well as compensate for the gradual downstream movement of the fry. Biologists fear that the building of hydroelectric dams in the Amazon basin will have a negative impact on migratory species. French nameOxydoras noir, Doras noir Scientific nameOxydoras nigerPhylumChordataClassOsteichthyes (bony fish)OrderSiluriformesFamilyDoradidésSizeUp to 120 cm WeightUp to 20 kg StatusThe IUCN has not evaluated the status of this species.