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Pseudacanthicus leopardus  (Fowler, 1914)

his very impressive looking Loricariidae below is owned by Andy Duck of the Northern Area Catfish Group of Great Britain (now the Catfish Study Group ) It has won countless trophies including Supreme Champion at the British Aquarist Festival. At the time of this factsheet in 1997 it was of course known as Pseudacanthicus leopardus but since 2001 there has appeared in the trade the true P. leopardus described by Fowler in 1914 and the Loricariidae that was formerly known as leopardus is now Pseudacanthicus sp. L025. the Scarlet Pleco

Pseudacanthicus sp. L025
Pseudacanthicus sp. L025


Now if you have taken in all that! I will point out the differences in the both species.

In the original description it was noted that P. leopardus had pale to dark brown and numerous black blotches throughout the body as can be on the fish below, this is where it gets its species name from, Leopard-like (a reference to the colour), while L025 above has four lines of spots running the length of the body. The difference is quite significant with also the eyes being somewhat dissimilar, L025 has to me, 'evil eyes', which seem to follow you around when viewing it, and they are also yellow. The eye's of P. leopardus are normal and it is also a smaller fish than Pseudacanthicus sp. L025 which grows to an impressive 40cm (16ins)

Pseudacanthicus leopardus


Pseudacanthicus leopardus

Following are two short write-ups by U.S. aquarists Larry Vires and Les Mumford.
“Several aquarists have had problems with feeding the smaller fish on a flake diet and had me stumped until I spoke with a local shop which has 3 of them in their display tank. The fish grow rather quickly if given a meaty diet of live or frozen foods, but they could not get them to accept flakes”. : Larry Vires

Les Mumford also E-Mailed me about his leopardus which he aquired from a friend returning from Brazil. It is now 6" long and he tells me that it is quite keen on zuchini (courgette)

Julian Dignall of Planetcatfish for his information on the name changes involving these two species.
Larry Vires and Les Mumford for their input to this Factsheet.


Update (2010): According to Seidel (2008), L114/LDA07 is a similar looking species from the Rio Demini in the central Rio Negro system in Brazil. P. leopardus is supposed to be more elongated and strongly flattened and a different colouration than the L and LDA numbers mentioned.

Dorsal 1/8; Anal 1/5; Pectorals; 1/6; Ventrals 1/5; 24 bony scutes in a lateral series. Dorsal fin large, flag-like. Head and gill cover thickly set with spines; interopercular with 12 hooked spines which are movable.

Pale to dark brown with numerous orregular black blotches on the body and fins. Underside grey-yellow.

When small they can be kept in a community tank but when adult, they can get quite aggressive. A large aquarium (6' 0" or over) is needed to display this dramatic looking Loricariid to its best advantage. I do feel that this is a fish only for the specialists who have the experience and dedication to take care of it, and to take care of the good water quality needed. Prefers soft and acidic water as it is a black-water fish.

Reported to have been bred in the aqurium but very high losses of fry.

Seem to preferr cooked mussels and prawns as adults. Include some vegatable food such as zuchini (courgette). Will also take frozen bloodworm and tablet food.

Pseudacanthicus; With false thorns.
leopardus; Leopard-like, (a reference to the colour.)

Sterba's Freshwater fishes of the World Vol.2 1973

Photo Credits

 Top: Allan James @ ScotCat

Bottom: ©
  Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library

Factsheet 011

Stonelia leopardus
Common Name:
Leopard Acanthicus, Leopard Pleco, LDA073, L600
Guyana Guyana, Rupununi River basin. Type locality: Rupununi River, British Guiana ... in the highlands of British Guiana, approximately secured in North Latitude 2º to 3º, and West Longitude 50º20'
30cm. (12ins)
25-29°c (77-85°f.)
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                                                                                                                   Factsheet 11 = updated April 28, 2004 © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top