pardalis (Castlenau, 1855)
ack in the days of the 1970s and eighties
the "so called" Common Pleco, alongside Ancistrus
and Rineloricaria species were the only "kids on
the block" from the Loricariidae suckermouth catfishes and
the name Hypostomus plecostomus was the name bandied
about for this large Loricaria. The name plecostomus
has now virtually disapeared, as we know it, as the sub-family
Plecostominae is no more and plecostomus is now considered
to be a synonym of Hypostomus.
Most of the literature from these early
days labels the Common Pleco as Hypostomus plecostomus
or Plecostomus commersoni but of course the name plecostomus
is now invalid, but to this day the name Pleco is still used for
all en composing members of the Loricariidae family. Today we
have settled on a few Pterygoplichthysspecies with the
common name of the "Common Pleco" including P. pardalis,
Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus and a few others, including
some Hypostomus species. The pictures in the old literature
show members of the Hypostomus genera as the dorsal fins
have between 5 and 8 rays whereas the Pterygoplichthys
genera sport over 10, usually about 13, and this is easy to spot.
The Common Pleco has been introduced to
a few other countries and continents and has become a nuisance
to Fishermen and to the indigenous fish population. You can now
find this species and others in the U.S.A., mainly Florida, Mexico,
the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore in Asia. They are bred
in Fish Farms in the Far East for the Aquarium trade and exported
to North America and unsuspecting aquarists have bought them only
to find out their potential growth size and latterly they have
been released into the local waters where they have thrived.
You may find this fish under the synonyms
of Liposarcus pardalis or Hypostomus pardalis.
This species can also be mistaken for Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus
except it has more of a reticulated pattern on the abdomen where
P. pardalis has more of a spotted pattern. Apart from
that they are very alike. There are also man made albino variants
of this species.
Another common name used mostly in the
North American continent is the "Janitor Fish" due to
their cleaning capabilities of algae in the aquarium. Can be kept
in a wide range of temperatures such as an unheated tank in a
centrally heated house.
Questions have been asked about keeping them with Goldfish, but
the main worry here is that the "Pleco" will try to
suck the slime coatings of the goldfishes body leading to impending
infection issues. Better to house the smaller common Ancistrus
species if you want an algae cleaner.
Dorsal fin rays 11-13. Anal
fin: 4-5 rays. Scutes along the lateral line, 29 to 30.
Geometric pattern on the head and leopard-like,
dark spots of variable size's on the abdomen area.
Peaceful on their own but will be territorial
with their own kind. Can be kept with most aquarium fishes in a
larger tank of 3' 6" or over.
Due to the adult size of these catfish, most
successful breeding's have occurred in ponds with steep clay or
mud banks. They dig tunnels close to the water level and the males
guard the eggs until they hatch.
In their natural habitat, this species feeds
on algae, aquatic weeds and other plant matter and small crustaceans.
Will eat mostly vegetable fare in the aquarium but will also eat
tablet and pellet foods.
primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body
Scutes: Bony covering.
Anal fin: The fin forward from the anal
Pterygos = wing,
fin; pleion = more; ichthys = fish.
|Evers, H.-G. &
Seidel, I: Mergus, Baensch
Catfish Atlas Volume 1, 1st English edn., 2005. Pp.944.
Chavezi, Joel M., De La Paz,
Reynaldo M., Manohar Surya Krishna; Pagulaya Roberto C. &
Carandang VI1, Jose R. New Philippine record of south
american sailfin catfishes (Pisces: Loricariidae)
First image: © Jonas
Second image: BigFrogFeet