The catfish L239 has finally been described by science and given a proper name: Baryancistrus beggini. Ichthyologists Lujan, Arce and Armbruster described the species in a paper[1] published in the journal Copeia[2].

Baryancistrus beggini lives in Venezuela and Colombia; in Rio Guaviare and at the confluence of Rio Ventuari and Rio Orinoco. The researchers found the fish in crevices amongst boulders. By analysing stomach contents, they were able to learn that this catfish feeds on periphyton and associated microfauna growing on rocks. (Periphyton is a mixture of algae, heterotrophic microbes, cyanobacteria, and detritus that can be found attached to submerged surfaces, e.g. stones, in most underwater ecosystems.)

In the aquarium trade, L239 is known as Blue panaque or Blue-fin panaque. The name beggini was given by Lujan and his colleagues in honour of Chris Beggin, the owner of an aquarium fish store in Nashville, USA who funded the research. The species has been placed in the genus Baryancistrus, but this might have to be corrected in the future as we learn more about the tribe Ancistrini.

Baryancistrus beggini sports a uniformly dark black to brown base colour with a blue sheen and the abdomen is naked. Along each side of the body you can see a distinctive keel above the pectoral finns; a keel formed by the strongly bent first three to five plates of the midventral series. The body also features two to three symmetrical and ordered predorsal plate rows and the last dorsal-fin ray is connected to the adipose fin.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Loricariidae
Subfamily: Hypostominae
Tribe: Ancistrini
Genus: Baryancistrus

New species: Baryancistrus beggini


[1] Lujan, NK, M Arce and JW Armbruster (2009) A new black Baryancistrus with blue sheen from the upper Orinoco (Siluriformes: Loricariidae). Copeia 2009, pp. 50–56.

[2] Copeia the official publication of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and can be found on www.asih.org.