ne look at the photograph of this species
and you will realise that this is, or used to be, Hoplosternum
pectorale. The above has been moved into a new genus along
with Hoplosternum thoracatum ( now Megalechis thoracata)
with Hoplosternum littorale staying put. The Brazilian
ichthyologist Roberto E.Reis completely revised this family in
1996 and erected a new genus for pectorale. There are also
three other newly described species in this new genus being namely,
L.altamazonicum, L.beni and L.tordilho.
Unlike all other genera of subfamily Callichthyinae,
the species of Lepthoplosternum are absent in the northern
portion of the South American continent, north of the Rio Amazonas.
The species are found in the upper Rio Amazonas in Peru (L.
altamazonicum), middle Rio Madeira (L. beni), Rio Paraguay
(L. pectorale), and in the laguna dos Patos drainage (L.
tordilho) in southern Brazil (Roberto E.Reis).
Now to get away from the scientific bit L. pectorale is
a dwarf species (8.5cm.) and as such is a good addition to any
community tank which doesn't house any aggressive species. It
is a hardy fish and the only time that you will get any
hint of aggression from this species is from the males when they
come into breeding condition, and can get quite territorial.
Colour-wise this is quite a drab species having a brown body colouration
with darker spots scattered over the body. The males can
be identified as having a thicker leading ray to the pectoral
fins and the rest of the fin can be a milky opaque colour while
the females is clear. You can identify this species from M.thoracata
and H.littorale by the shape of its caudal fin, it being
slightly rounded while M.thoracata is truncate (square)
and H.littorale's caudal fin is forked.
Two pairs of well developed barbels and apair
of thread-like processes on the upper jaw and apair of fleshy flaps
on the lower. Body comparatively narrow (cleithral width 26.3-28.6%
of SL); 25-26 scutes in upper lateral series; 22-23 in lower.
Body dark brown with small blackish spots.
Fin rays dark brown, those in the caudal with black spots. On some
specimens lighter bands are visible on the head.
They can be quite easily housed in your planted
community tank as they don't grow as large as thoracata or
littorale and don't show any aggressive tendencies. Will
attempt to spawn in a community setup, but if they do it would be
a good idea to move the pair to their own breeding tank to make
sure that the spawning is successful, in that the fry will survive
the attentions of the rest of the tank inmates. Being from the southern
parts of the South American continent it prefers tempertures to
be on the lower side of tropical i.e: under 75°f.
This is a bubble-nester, where the female
deposits her eggs in floating plant material or a floating polystyrene
lid. To read a report on breeding this species you can go to the
breeding article section
for an indepth look at "how to do it".
As with most "Hoplo's" a good varied
diet of frozen, live and a good quality flake food. It will eat
most things given and of course keep up the water changes.
Atlas 2, 1993.
A thin sternum, (breast)
pectorale: Referring to the thicker
pectoral fins in adult male fish.
Blundell @ The Danny Blundell Photo Gallery