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Hypostomus plecostomus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Image contributors to this species:

Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library (4) Karsten Schönherr (2)

ScotCat Sources:

Etymology = Genus Etymology = Genus

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Search Google  All Catfish Species Inventory Wikipedia

Relevant Information:

Depth of head 4-45-5.1 in standard length; spots on body and fins vague; large, on snout spots are small and densely distributated; dark spots on caudal forming transverse bars. Very hardy Loricarid which was named in early literature and probably encompased most of the early Hypostomus imports. Not that easy to identify if locality is unknown although the genus Hypostomus can be differentiated from the Pterygoplichthys genera by having less dorsal fin rays (7 v 12-14). Some of the Hypostomus genus are rarely that colourful and usually posses brown/black spots or blotches. Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7 - 7; Anal spines: 1; Anal soft rays: 3 - 5. Body short and robust; caudal peduncle not depressed. Upper parts of head and body encased in longitudinal rows of scutes; lower surface of head and abdomen naked. Feeds on algae and small crustaceans. Is cultured in ponds in Singapore and Hong Kong for the aquarium trade, where it is very popular. Aquarium Care: Usually bought as small individuals by unsuspecting aquarists and can grow pretty quickly and dominate and disrupt a tank, although they are quite peaceful. Would require a spacious tank that would be 5ft (150cm) or over. Diet: Algae, and vegetable foods such as cucumber and courgette (zucchini). Will also take frozen foods as a treat and sinking tablet foods. Remarks: Stated in some literature (Seidel 2008) that H. plecostomus, as we know it today, may have never been imported, so the images for this species may be erroneous. The last two thumbnail images were photographed by the image contributor in the type locality in Suriname, in Marshall creek. Habitat: found in lower freshwater reaches of coastal drainages in French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname.

Common Name:

Suckermouth catfish, Pleco. Plecostomus. Plec.


Acipenser plecostomus, Hypostomus guacari, Loricaria flava, Plecostomus bicirrosus, Plecostomus brasiliensis, Plecostomus plecostomus, Pterygoplichthys plecostomus




South America: Guianan coastal drainages. Have been introduced to several Asian countries for the aquarium trade. Type locality: Suriname River, Suriname.


30cm. (12ins)


24-28°c (75-83°f.)




Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (0292010).
Seidel, I. 2008. Back to Nature guide to L-catfishes, Ettlingen, Germany 208 p
Mol, H.A. Jan, The Freshwater Fishes of Suriname. BRILL, Leiden Boston, 2012. 889 p.



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