; superorder Ostariophysi, order Siluriformes)
A large family of freshwater fish that tend to have a slender, pencil-shaped body with a scaleless skin, small fins, and two pairs of barbels above the mouth. Many species may hide in the river bottom or in leaf-litter during the day, but attack other animals at night to feed on blood and tissues. There are about 185 species occurring in Central and S. America.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.