Fishy Pedicures, the Latest Rage

Yep. Listen to the full story at NPR.



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Stop the presses! The fish depicted in the image (and described in the article as "silvery inch-long fish ... which look like a cross between goldfish and minnows") definitely are not Garra rufa. The real deal can be seen at…

I'm not 100% certain, but the fish shown above may be the other "doctor fish," Cyprinion macrostomum.

I think the claim of toothlessness seems a little dodgy for C. macrostomum, and know for certain that it's technically incorrect even for "sucker-mouthed" Garra (they've got pharyngeal teeth).

The recent hype about G. rufa, native of a politically tumultuous neighborhood where few fish exporters hold shop (Jordan, Orontes, and Tigris-Euphrates river basins), belies the fact that other Garra from the Afrotropics and SE Asia -- much cheaper and more readily available through the aquarium trade -- will apparently do much the same thing.

So, for that matter, will quite a few species of freshwater shrimp (notably, Macrobrachium spp. and Xiphocaris elongata). I've seen/felt this first-hand in Puerto Rican streams, and these critters' relatives elsewhere in the world appear to have the same fixation with dead epidermis. Might actually be blog about that in the near future.