#BMAP

Peru-BMAP

Strategic alliance between  SCBI-CCS with PERU LNG, APECO, and the Peruvian Governement

Andean pencil catfish

Trichomycterus sp.

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What are the characteristics of this genre?

  • The genus of fish Trichomycterus is reported in Peru for both sides of the Andes mountain range, from almost 0 to more than 4,000 m, with 11 species described so far.

  • These benthic fishes (i.e., spend most of their time at the bottom of bodies of water) have a more or less cylindrical body, operculum operculum, depressed head with three pairs of barbels, and small eyes. They have a terminal mouth, which has conical teeth or incisors that are adapted to feed mainly on aquatic insects.

Where do we study this genre?

Trichomycterus was studied in the valley of the Apurímac river (ELU 1), the Torobamba river valley (ELU 3), the Yucay river valley (ELU 5), the Vinchos river valley (ELU 7), the high mountain range of Apacheta ( ELU 8), the basin of the Pampas-Palmitos rivers (ELU 9), the plains and ridges of Huaytara (ELU 10) and the Ica-Lima coast (ELU 14).

What questions do we seek to answer with the study?

  • What is the abundance and range of distribution of the species of the genus Trichomycterus within the ELUs?

  • What are the characteristics of the habitats preferred by the species of the genus Trichomycterus?

  • What other fish species are found in the ELUs studied?

  • Is the pipeline having an impact on these fish species?

What general results have we obtained to date?

  • We found two species of Trichomycterus: T. punctulatus (ELU 14) and T. aff. oroyae (ELUs 5, 7 and 8) in the study areas.

  • We found Oncorhynchus mykiss "trout" in ELU 9 in the absence of Trichomycterus.

  • T. aff. Oroyae encountered trout in the ELUs 7 (also with Astroblepus spp.) and 8.

  • Trichomycterus was not found in the ELU 10.

  • Four other fish species were reported in ELU 14: Poecila reticulata, Oreochromis niloticus, Mugil cephalus, and Andinoacara stalsbergi.

 

Why is the conservation of this genus important?

  • Of the 11 species reported for Trichomycterus, eight of them are considered endemic to Peru. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature considers Trichomycterus punctulatus to be almost Threatened.

  • Research in the genre is very few. There are no works on the taxonomy or on the population variations of the species present in Peru.

  • Due to the progressive degradation of rivers by pollution, canalization of channels for irrigation, introduction of exotic species and the destruction of riparian forests, fish populations are threatened.