; subclass Actinopterygii, order Siluriformes)
A very large family of herbivorous, freshwater catfish that have the head and part of the body enclosed in bony plates; the posterior part of the body is very slender. The ventrally located mouth is modified into a sucking apparatus which is used by the fish to fasten on to rocks in fast-flowing mountain streams. There are about 410 species, occurring in Central and S. America.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.