of the earliest kept members of the Loricariidae family is this
very impressive looking Panaque one of two similar blue-eye
types, one from the Rio Magdalena Colombia, possibly Panaque
cochliodon, (Steindachner 1879) and Panaque suttonorum
from the Maracaibo basin Venezuela. There is a bit of a mystery
on the identification of these two species especially P.suttonorum
and Shane Linder, who resides in Venezuela, has kindly furnished
me with additional information on this very subject.
Shane Linder offers the following on the possible
identity of this species: "P. suttonorum, Schultz 1944,
the scientific name commonly applied to the blue-eyed pleco in the
aquarium hobby, is an incorrect identification. Schultz described
live specimens of P. suttonorum as, "Uniformely grayish...basal
two-thirds of the paired fins black, and the tips of these fins
white; the posterior margin of dorsal is white, a narrow white bar
across caudal peduncle, middle of caudal fin white then some black
blotches; the tips of the rays are white." While P. suttonorum
sounds like a very attractive fish, this is clearly not a description
of the blue-eyed pleco found in the hobby. P. suttonorum
is restricted to the Lake Maracaibo basin and no aquarium fishes
have ever been exported from there. The fishes from that basin are
very unique and if we had a shipment from there we would know it
immediately. We also know that blue-eyed pleco shipments come from
Colombia and P. suttonorum is restricted to Venezuela. I
have NEVER seen blue-eyed plecos in a Caracas exporter.My best guess
is that the fish we know as old blue-eyes is either P.cochliodon
or a closely related (but undescribed) Colombian relative."
You might actually think that I have misspelled
the species name here as most aquarists would be familiar with Panaque
suttoni instead of suttonorum, well there is a story
behind this which lay uncovered for the best part of 53 years and
was discovered by the famous Ichthyologist Dr.Issac Isbrùcker
well known for his work with this family. When Leonard Schultz described
this species in 1944 it was in honour of Dr.and Mrs Frederick A.Sutton
and was subsequently named P.suttoni but the Code of Zoological
Nomenclature (the naming of species i.e.: a system of names to you
and I!) states that if a fish is named after a man it ends in ~i
(P.suttoni) but named after a women it will end in
~ae ( P.suttonae) but naming after a
man and woman together it should end in ~orum, thus
Panaque suttonorum. So there we have it, easy when
you know how :-)
The main criteria for the Panaque genus is their spoon-shaped
teeth used for rasping the algae beds in their native rivers, this
is their main diet in the wild but will also adapt to prepared tablet
food in captivity.
The one imposing feature of this catfish is of course the blue eyes,
where the common name derives from, and a healthy specimen will
have bright blue eyes and of course will not have a hollow belly
or sunken eyes, so keep a lookout for this if purchasing. On the
subject of purchasing please make sure that you can look after this
animal in good water conditions. Think about it again if you are
buying one as they are not that easy to keep. There is more stories
of this fish just dying for no apparent reason than most catfish
I know off.
Acknowledgments: Shane Linder for his input to this Factsheet.
Factsheet update Sept.2004: I have finely got around to
updating this species and we now know that
Panaque sp. suttonorum is in actaul fact, Panaque
cochlidon ( Steindachner, 1879) I have thus changed the title
of this factsheet to show the changes.
Dorsal: 1/7, Anal:
1/4, Pectorals: 1/6, Ventrals: 1/5 Typical Panaque shape
with triangular body section. Long interopercular spines with
tips hooked outwards. Caudal peduncle slightly compressed. Belly
and underside of head completely covered with rough platlets.
No naked area at tip of snout.
Uniformly dark grey to black. Eye, electric
There are differing stories on their compatibility
with other tank inmates. You will read in some literature that they
are a peaceful species and others, that they can be quite quarrelsome.
I would personally keep only one species per tank and if tankmates
are warranted, large characins in the upper layer such as the African
Congo tetra and probably Corydoras species would do all right
as they wouldn't be seen as a threat. Provide caves of some sort
for their well-being and to make them feel more secure in their
surroundings, also provide good water movement in the tank as they
do come from oxygen-rich waters. You will probably find that you
can tame this species to be able to take food literally out of your
hand at feeding time. All-in-all a quite impressive if difficult
to keep species from the large Loricariidae family.
Not been achieved in the aquarium as far as
I am aware. Would need a very large tank to facilitate a spawning
Provide a good vegetable diet such as cucumber,
courgette (zucchini) and also sinking tablet food.
Northern Area Catfish
Group Information Sheet no 38
common name for plecostomus. Panaque nigrolineatus
was the first described and it is from central Venezuela
Linder, Shane; Personal correspondence
Rio Magdalena and Rio Cauca.
dem Cauca, dem grössten Nebenflusse des
|If you found this page helpful
you can help keep ScotCat running by making a small donation,