All Fishes Loricariidae Hypostominae Pterygoplichthys

Hop to next section All Fishes Data Sheet
Scientific Name Pterygoplichthys pardalis  (Castelnau, 1855)
Common Names L021, Common Pleco
L023, Albino Pleco, Amazon Sailfin Pleco, Chocolate Pleco, Janitor Fish
Type Locality Amazon River, Brazil.
Synonym(s) Hypostomus pardalis, Liposarcus jeanesianus, Liposarcus pardalis, Liposarcus varius
Pronunciation terry gop LICK thees - par dah liss
Etymology Greek, pterygion, diminutive of pteryx = wing, fin + Greek, hoplon = weapon + Greek, ichthys = fish. 
Hop to next section Species Information
Size 423mm or 16.7" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Pterygoplichthys can be identified by the number of rays in the dorsal fin. Ten or more dorsal rays (usually more than 10) indicates that it's a Pterygoplichthys. Most other plecos have 8 or fewer rays (in particular the larger Hypostomus species that are most likely to be confused with Pterygoplichthys).

Is also L023. A relatively nondescript species that is unlikely to be imported as an L number. An amelanistic form has also been fixed by US and SE Asian commercial fish farms and is commonly sold as the "chocolate pleco". As they are bred in huge numbers by commercial fish farms, this is currently the most commonly available loricariid and can be found for sale in nearly all the larger chain-type pet stores.

This species is most likely to be confused with P. disjunctivus. The pattern on the abdomen is the most useful external key: P. pardalis has a spotted pattern, where P. disjunctivus has a vermiculated pattern. For more info see: Zootaxa 1109: 57-68 (2006)
Sexing Comparison of the genital papilla in mature fish shows the differences in the sexes to the trained eye. In males this is a small yet thick stump which noticeably protrudes from the fish's undercarriage. In females it is less obvious and is recessed or lies flat with the body.
General Remarks It is important to note that the term "common pleco" is applied to several nondescript loricariid species, especially of the genera Pterygoplichthys and Hypostomus.
Hop to next section Habitat Information
Distribution South America: Lower, middle and upper Amazon River basin. Introduced to countries outside its native range.
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Not Evaluated
pH 6.0 - 7.5
Temperature 21.0-26.0°C or 69.8-78.8°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters Typically specimens found for sale are pond bred and raised and hardy. They will adapt to most water conditions and extend the more optimal ranges given here.
Hop to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding .
Furniture Larger fish will unwittingly uproot plants. Large plastic or ceramic pipes are best for hiding places.
Compatibility Peaceful as far as large plecos go.
Suggested Tankmates Almost any medium sized community fish.
Breeding Commercially bred in outdoor ponds in both the U.S. and Far East.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Hop to next section Further Information
Reference Animaux nouveaux or rares v. 2, pp42, Pl. 20 (fig. 3).
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Last Update 2020 Oct 08 11:51 (species record created: 2001 May 05 00:00)