The Loaches and Thorneyes are a small family of freshwater fishes with approximately 100 species distributed over well-defined but self-contained areas of the Old World. Loaches are found through Europe and Asia including the Malaysian Archipelago. Only a few species can be found in Africa, predominatly in Morroco and Ethiopia. Cobitidae are widely represented in southern and southeastern Asia, buta re more difficult to find further north adn west. The thornieyes are distinguished by their elongated and generally cylindrical bodies. Some species have a flattened stomach. Their tootless mouths, not a predominant feature, show they are bottom feeders. The body may be covered with small scales or may be partially or without scales. The fish have acquired their common name, Thorneye, from one or two thorn-like spines generally situated directly between the eyes. These can be erected at will and in some instances are imbedded int he skin. Thorneye have three to six pairs of short to moderately long barbels on their lips and possess a single row of pharyngeal teeth. The anterior portion of the swim bladder is surrounded by a bony cover and the intesites of many Loaches, acts as an additional respiratory organ. By absorbing oxygen from the atmosphere through the intestine the species can survive in oxygen-depleted waters. Thorneyes feed mostly on insect larvae and small worms such as Tubifex. The Loach’s barbels contin tastebuds and help it found food. In an aquarium certain species will accept dried food and vegetable supplements such as soft algae.