Blind Cave Catfish Sees With "Skin Teeth"

Ecuadorian catfish used evolve! It’s super creepy! And effective.

Researchers from the University of Maryland were exploring caves in Ecuador when they came across a new species of cavefish they named Astroblepus philter. Isn’t it cute?

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Astro is not unique in possessing skin teeth, officially known as denticles because scientists are too busy discovering amazing stuff to be concerned with creative names. Lots of fish have denticles and they’re used for all sorts of stuff: reduction of drag when swimming, cutting food or enemies, or as a form of protection. But Astro wasn’t going to settle for doing what the other fish did.

Found only in a single cave in Ecuador, Astro use their denticles to SEE their surroundings by projecting hydrodynamic images that let them feel their way in the dark, fast currents. In other words, they’re the Daredevil of the fish world.

What do these skin teeth look like? Exactly like you’d expect.

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Hat tip to Geekosystem.

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