The various shovel-nosed catfishes of South America are popular inhabitants of large aquariums and important food fishes in their native rivers. As their huge mouths would suggest, they are active predators, hunting for others fishes and crustaceans at night. They easily grow to over three feet.
The Mayans and Aztecs demanded rare tribute from their subject peoples. The feathers of quetzals were prized more than gold. The five species of quetzals are specialized trogons, found from Mexico south to Bolivia and Brazil. The three species that are part of the collection at the DWA are: Golden-headed quetzal (Pharomachrus auriceps), Crested quetzal (Pharomachrus antisianus) and the Resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno). All are green and red, but only the Resplendent quetzal, of Mexico and Central America, bears the prized long plumes.
No relation to sturgeons, this huge relative of the little "talking catfishes" (popular with aquarists) possesses similar looking bony scutes along its side, giving it a prehistoric appearance. One of its other aquarium shop names is in fact "Prehistoric catfish" and another is "Ripsaw". Though exceeding three feet in length, they feed almost entirely on invertebrates and detritus, as one might deduce from their small mouths.