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Leporacanthicus galaxias   Isbrücker & Nijssen, 1989    

he first imports of the “Vampire Plec”, the common name given because of its unique tooth pattern, (large teeth in the upper jaw) were from Belem in Brazil by a German fish exporter, Arthur Werner in 1985. It was one of the first of the ‘new plecs’ to come out of Brazil, and so it was given the ‘L’ number 007 ( shades of Bond!), it was not until 4 years later in 1989 that it was described to science.

Leporacanthicus galaxias = juvenile

Picture depicts juvenile colours.
( L007)

This striking Loricariid can be found with either yellow or white spots , but I would guess that the older the fish becomes, they would then fade to a dirty white colour, plus the spots get smaller and more defined, hence the difference in the juvenile and adult colourations. There are three other species in this genus, L. joselimai, Isbrücker and Nijssen 1989, from the Rio Tapajos, L. heterodon, Isbrücker and Nijssen 1989, Images from the Rio Xingu and the newest member named in 1992, L.triactis, Isbrücker, I. J. H., H. Nijssen and L. G. Nico 1992, where you can now find a factsheet on this latest species at ScotCat by clicking on the factsheet symbol Factsheet

Leporacanthicus galaxias  = adult

Adult colouration (L029)

Leporacanthicus is readily identifiable from all other Ancistrini by the development of only two teeth in each premaxilla, the inner teeth being very long (all other Ancistrini have more than two teeth in the premaxilla), by having a well-raised supraoccipital crest (the supraoccipital in most Ancistrini is flat to slightly raised) and by having numerous long barbels above the upper jaws. It has been hypothesized that the enlarged teeth of the upper jaw are used to remove snails from their shells (Burgess 1994).

The L-number L 029, is actually the adult version of our factsheet of the month, as can be seen in the two images depicted.

(04/07/2006) There is a train of thought that L. galaxias is L 029 and L 007 is a different fish, i.e. L. cf.  galaxias. L.029  has a shorter dorsal, smaller spots and a longer head but we may be dealing  with juvenile and adult  specimens here. For clarity we have pictured all varieties here as  Leporacanthicus galaxias.

2 Large teeth in the upper mandible, 10 longer teeth in the lower. Narrow, pointed head, round lower lip, and fleshy tentacles on the upper lip. Caudal fin straight, angled posteroventrally. Three predorsal plates. Two teeth per premaxilla that are much longer than the dentary teeth.

Colour pattern is generally dark gray to black with white to golden spots or a light gray with medium-sized black spots. Abdomen naked.

This fish can be territorial with its own kind and so must have a big enough aquarium if more than one is kept. Regular water changes must be adhered to, and also having a powerful filter system that can deliver a high oxygen content. Hiding places are beneficial to this fish with bogwood or wood of some description and/or some rockwork.

Digs tunnels in their native rivers on the river banks to spawn just below the waterline. These burrows can be seen when the river lowers in the dry season. As far as I know this species has not been bred in the aquarium probably due to their special needs for carrying out this function.

Sexual Differences

The males have a more elongated body and a broader head and they also posses short odontodes on the edges of the snout which the females lack.


Not a true vegetarian so a wide variety of foods including algae, algae wafers, cucumber or courgette ( zuchini), prawns, shrimps and tablet food.

galaxias; Milky, also spotted.

Baensch; Aquarium Atlas 3
Jon Armbrusters Loricariid Home Page
Datz Special: All L-Numbers: Habitat, Care & Diet

Photo Credits
Allan James @ ScotCat
Factsheet 021

Common Name:
L 007, L 029, Vampire Plec
Brazil, Rio Tocantins.
25cm. (10ins)
25-29°c (77-85°f.)
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                                                                                                                                   Factsheet 021 = updated October 20, 2004, © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top