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Hypancistrus inspector  Armbruster, 2002   


irst appeared in the German magazine Datz in September 1995 as L201  which is a different species that has a more squat body shape and lacks the black edgings to the dorsal and caudal fins. H. inspector was described by Armbruster in 2002. This has been one of the more popular members of the Hypancistrus genera and as such has been bred regularly by catfish enthusiasts around the world.


Hypancistrus inspector



Hypancistrus inspector  = tail view


Hypancistrus inspector = showing the large eye
Hypancistrus inspector = showing the forked tail


H. inspector can be confused with H. lunaorum and H. contradens but it is known for its unusually large eyes (hence the Latin specific name), forked tail and the black edging to the dorsal and caudal fins. There can also be differences in the colour and size of the spotted pattern. H. contradens was originally included in the type species for H. inspector but was finely described by Armbruster in 2007 as H. contradens.


The Hypancistrus genera is similar to the Panaque/Panaqolus and Peckoltia genera but have fewer and larger teeth in the lower and upper jaw.



Dorsal spines (total): 2; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7; Anal spines: 1; Anal soft rays: 3 - 4. Ventral surface from head to anus largely naked in adults, few small platelets on skin ventral to pectoral girdle. Lateral plates unkeeled although ventral row may have moderately elongate odontodes forming 1 or more keel-like rows on caudal peduncle. Cheek plates with 20-40 hypertrophied odontodes in adults. Caudal fin emarginate. Lateral line plates 22-24; below dorsal fin 7-8; interdorsal 3-5; adipose caudal 8-10; postanal 11-13; caudal peduncle 5

Body colouration brown to black, with large white to yellow spots on the sides. The dorsal and caudal fins sport a black banding on the edges.

Aquarium Care
No problem with keeping in groups but only one Hypancistrus species to a tank as there has been reports of hybridisation. Provide caves in the aquarium.


Can be kept with other small tankmates such as Tetra's and other catfish such as from the Corydoradinae sub family.

Sexual dimorphism
Males posses a broader and longer head and odontodes on the posterior part of the body, behind the gill covers and on the pectoral fin spines. The latter two are a lot shorter in the females.


As per the Hypancistrus species the male occupies the cave and entices the gravid female to join him. She lays her eggs in the roof of the cave and the male guards them. The cave of your choice should be about a third longer in length, width and height than the male so there is room also for the female to enter. The cave must have one entry point so that the male can guard the entrance from any impending danger. There is a few articles here on the breeding of Hypancistrus species in the articles section. There is also plenty of articles online to refer to.

  1. A case of crossbreeding in Hypancistrus (L136 x L066)
  2. Hypancistrus sp L028, An undiscribed species of Loricariid from the Rio Guamá 
  3. Spawning the "Zebra Pleco" (Hypancistrus zebra
Omnivores, juveniles are keen on vegetable foods whereas adults are less so. Frozen foods such as brine shrimp, mosquito larvae and mussels as well as tablet foods. In its natural habitat specimens were collected from rocks and rapids. Stomach contents included algae and detritus; also seeds (dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous seeds).


Hypancistrus: Greek, hypo = under + Greek, agkistron = hook
inspector: Latin for "observer", pertaining to the large eyes.

Glossary of Terms:

Dorsal: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body

Caudal: The tail.
Anal Fin:
The median, unpaired, ventrally located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior half of the fish.
Caudal peduncle: The area between the dorsal fin and the tail.
Odontodes: Hair - like stuctures on the body
Pectoral girdle: The bony or cartilaginous skeletal arch supporting the pectoral fins.


Armbruster, J.W., 2002. Hypancistrus inspector: a new species of suckermouth armored catfish (Loricariidae: Ancistrinae). Copeia 2002(1):86-92.
Armbruster, J.W., N.K. Lujan and D.C. Taphorn, 2007 Four new Hypancistrus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from Amazonas, Veneuzela. Copeia (1):62-79.
Armbruster, J.W., 2002. Hypancistrus inspector: a new species of suckermouth armored catfish (Loricariidae: Ancistrinae). Copeia 2002(1):86-92.
Seidel, I. 2008. Back to Nature guide to L-catfishes, Ettlingen, Germany 208 p   
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (06/2012).

Photo Credits
© Yann Fulliquet
Factsheet 224

Common Name:
Snowball Peckoltia
South America: Brazil: Amazonas, Rio Casiquiare, upper Rio Negro drainage, Venezuela. Type locality: ‘Río Casiquiare, Río Negro, Río Amazonas drainage, about 10 river kilometers above the Río Negro, below Solano, 1°58’N, 67°05’W, Dpto. Casiquiare, Amazonas, [Venezuela].
16cm. (6½ins)
23-29°c (73-85°f.) 
6.0. - 7.5.
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                                                                                                                                  Factsheet 224 = updated March 28, 2019 , © ScotCat 1997-2019 Go to Top