Rhizosomichthys totae   (Miles)

Lake Tota Feeler Fish
(Rhizosomichthys totae)

syn. Pygidium totae (Miles)


Colombia: Lake Tota / Boyacá Province

local name:

Pez Grasso (Spanish)

size: ca. 14 cm (length)

extinction date: last seen in 1957

The Lake Tota Feeler Fish is known from only ten specimens that were caught between 1942 and 1957 in the Lake Tota, and is now considered extinct.

This (Sorry!) incredibly ugly fish is unique among Pencil Catfishes in possessing remarkable rings of extensive adipose tissues surrounding its body, and giving it a somewhat large intestine-like appearance.

So far, nothing is known about its biology, the extinction was probably caused on the one hand by the introduction of the Rainbow Trout  (Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum)), and on the other hand by the subsidence of the water level due to seismic activites.


- Scott A. Schaefer; Luis Fernández: Redescription of the Pez Graso, Rhizosomichthys totae (Trichomycteridae), of Lago de Tota, Colombia, and Aspects of Cranial Osteology Revealed by Microtomography. Copeia 2009(3): 510-522. 2009