The US state of Texas is facing a catfish plague after an invasive species used to clean aquarium tanks has been growing and multiplying in the state’s system of waterways.
Texas Parks and Wildlife reported that researchers from Texas A&M and Texas State universities pulled 406 suckermouth armoured catfish from the San Marcos River last month.
The catfish, also called plecos, are native to Central and South America, and are popular among aquarists because they eat algae in tanks.
However, they are frequently dumped into natural lakes and rivers and, because they have armoured skin and no natural predators in Texas, their numbers are exploding in the wild.
The fish can grow up to two and a half feet long and take over the natural habitats of native species, as well as causing damage to native vegetation and river banks.
According to Newsweek, the 400 fish collected from the San Marcos River will be euthanized using a fish anaesthetic and used for research into population control methods.