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Brown Hoplo (Armor Plated Catfish) Caught in Florida
Exotic fish caught in Englewood canal
ENGLEWOOD -- Holiday Travel Park resident Ed Wallace does a lot of fishing
in the freshwater canal near his home off State Road 776.
Late last week, he pulled something out of the water that he had never seen
It looked something like a catfish, with mottled markings, a sail and large
Wallace has kept the exotic-looking fish in an attempt to find out what it
is from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"They didn't tell me what it was," Wallace said, "but they told me to
Wallace said he has been fishing in the area for the past three years, but
had never seen anything like it.
At first he thought the 18-inch fish was something someone might have thrown
out from his or her home aquarium, because it looks like a huge algae eating
The blotchy brown fish had large dorsal and pectoral fins, and protruding
According to the FWC, the unusual fish is a brown hoplo, or armor-plated
catfish. They're native to eastern South America, but are now found
throughout central and south Florida.
Armor-plated catfish were first documented in the Indian River Lagoon system
in 1995. The black or dark brown catfish occupy streams and lakes in Myakka
River State Park.
"They are a problem in the area," said Nadine Slimak, spokeswoman for Mote
Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.
Slimak said it is believed the fish were introduced to Florida as aquarium
pets and released into the wild.
Most measure less than a foot long and sport bony armor along each side.
According to FWC, the catfish are highly desired as food by Floridians with
cultural ties to Trinidad, and are raised for food in certain parts of South
Wallace is keeping the fish in a trap in the canal. As of Monday night, he
hadn't destroyed it.
You can e-mail Rachel Alexander at .
By RACHEL ALEXANDER