Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why is Everybody Ignoring the Suckermouth Catfish?

Hypostomus plecostomus is a surprisingly elusive critter - online, anyway. Actually, I was able to find quite a bit about diseased armored suckermouth catfish, but not so much about healthy ones. Apart from pages like this:

"Hypostomus plecostomus | suckermouth catfish"
Texas State Department of Biology

"Maximum size: 600 mm SL (Hensley Courtenay 1980).

"Life colors: Frequently have patterns of spots (Hoover et al 2004).


"Body shape: Range from 14-50 cm depending on species (Hoover et al 2004).

"Mouth position: The mouth is inferior and the lips surrounding it form a 'sucking disk' (Hoover et al 2004).

"External morphology: Adipose fin has a spine; pectoral fins have thick, toothed spines which are used in male-to-male combat and locomotion (Walker 1968)...."

As the page says, near the top:


My curiosity piqued, I set forth, as on a quest, in search of more lore of the suckermouth catfish.

At last my efforts were rewarded:


"The Loricariidae or Suckermouth Armored Catfish Family has over 600 members found in Central and South America. It includes, among others, the genera Ancistrus, Chaetostoma, Farlowella, Hypancistrus, Hypoptopoma, Hypostomus, Otocinclus, Panaque, Peckoltia, Pterygoplichthys, Rineloricaria, Scobinancistrus, and Sturisoma.
SIZE: The Loricariidae Family includes small to large fish; some as small as 1" (2.5 cm) while others exceed 24" (61 cm)....

That page is geared for aquarium owners, and has a fair amount of information about the armored suckermouth catfish.

Which, interestingly enough, some people apparently like to keep in their aquariums.


legbamel said...

What an odd question! While we're never without one or two in our aquaria (the dwarf variety are particularly useful in smaller tanks) they're pretty ugly unless you spring for a really expensive variety. They do a bang-up job eating algae but in the wild I'd hate to bump into one. Ouch!

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


That is an odd question, isn't it?

Actually, there's a fair amount of information about armored suckermouth catfish online - but all I found were dead links and dry pathology reports, until I realized that they're a moderately popular aquarium fish.

And, agreed - behind glass, fine. Bumping into one, not so much.

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