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Exotic fishes of Bangladesh: Suckermouth catfish, Hypostomus plecostomus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Suckermouth catfish, Hypostomus plecostomus

Suckermouth catfish, Hypostomus plecostomus

The Suckermouth catfish is native to South America especially Brazil (Akhter, 1995). This fish was introduced in Bangladesh from Thailand in 1980 (Rahman, 2005). Though this fish was introduced for ornamental purpose but at present they have established themselves into the different natural waterbodies of Bangladesh. This is an extremely hardy species and lifespan is 10 to 15 years (Galib and Mohsin, 2011; Fishlore, 2009).

Systematic position
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfishes)
Family: Loricariidae (Suckermouth armored catfishes)
Genus: Hypostomus
Species: H. plecostomus

Common names: Plecostomus or Pleco

Acipenser plecostomus
Linnaeus, 1758
Hypostomus guacari Lacepède, 1803
Loricaria flava
Shaw, 1804
Plecostomus bicirrosus Gronow, 1854
Plecostomus brasiliensis Bleeker, 1864
Plecostomus plecostomus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Pterygoplichthys plecostomus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Morphology: Elongated body with flat ventral portion. Eyes situated on the dorsal portion of the head. Opening of mouth is very wide and have barbels. Body with rough scales, lower surface of head and abdomen are naked. Black or blackish with orange irregular marks throughout the body.

Measurements of the different body lengths are: SL 71.10-76.67% of TL, FL 86.71-90.00% of TL, BD 11.33-13.87% of TL, HL 13.33-14.45% of TL, CP 20.81-23.33% of TL and Eye 22.00-25.00% of HL (Galib and Mohsin, 2011).

Taxonomic formula: D1. 12-13; D2. 1; P1. 6; P2. 6; A. 5; C. 16 (Galib and Mohsin, 2011).

Maximum length: 35 cm (collected from a pond of Godagari Upazila, Rajshahi district) (Galib and Mohsin, 2011).

Food and feeding: Well known as an algae eater (Fishlore, 2009) and can often be found stuck to the side of aquarium (Galib and Mohsin, 2011). As they get older they may eat algae less often and supplemental diet with algae wafers may be supplied. Shrimp pellets or other commercial aquarium food that drop to the bottom are also favorite (Galib and Mohsin, 2011).

Breeding and gender differentiation: Generally breeds in natural environments. Very difficult to breed them in a home aquarium (Fishlore, 2009). Sexing is very difficult by examining external characteristics as there are no visible differences between the male and female (Fishlore, 2009).

Habitats: Freshwater; at present, this species was reported from different lakes and ponds of Bangladesh, e.g. Gulshan Lake of Dhaka city (Rahman, 2007), many ponds of Rajshahi (Galib and Mohsin, 2010 and 2011) and ponds, rivers and beels of Atrai Upzila (Naogaon district).

Economic importance: This exotic fish becomes very popular in recent times as ornamental/aquarium fish in Bangladesh (Galib and Mohsin, 2011). Retail price varied between BDT 30 and 200 per pair depending on place and size (Galib and Mohsin, 2011).

Negative impacts: May pose threat to native fish species (Galib and Mohsin, 2011). As for example, some aquarists released large sized fish in Gulshan Lake of Dhaka city from their aquarium and later the species bred and established in the lake and currently the lake is full of this fish (Rahman, 2007).



Akhter MS. 1995. Aquarium Guide, published by Echo Aqua Fisheries Project, 1/6 Pallabi, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh, pp. 51-71 (in Bengali).

Bleeker P. 1864. Notices sur quelques genres et espèces de Cyprinoïdes de Chine. Nederlandsch Tijdschrift voor de Dierkunde, 2: 18-29.

Fishlore. 2009. Tropical Fish Information, retrieved on December 12, 2009;

Galib SM and Mohsin ABM. 2010. Exotic Ornamental Fishes of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Journal of Progressive Science and Technology, 8(2): 255-258.

Galib SM and Mohsin ABM. 2011. Cultured and Ornamental Exotic Fishes of Bangladesh Past and Present, LAP-Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, pp. 76-78.

Gronow LT. 1854. Catalogue of fish collected and described by Laurence Theodore Gronow, now in the British Museum. London, pp. 1-196.

Lacepède BGE. 1803. Histoire naturelle des poissons. Histoire naturelle des poissons, 5: 1-803.

Linnaeus C. 1758. Systema Naturae, Ed. X. (Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.) Holmiae. Systema Naturae, Ed. X, 1: 1-824.

Rahman AKA. 2007. Exotic fishes and their impact on environment, 16th Annual General Meeting and National Conference 2007, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, 30 March, Dhaka, Bangladesh, pp.26-39.

Rahman AKA. 2007. Exotic fishes and their impact on environment, 16th Annual General Meeting and National Conference 2007, Zoological Society of Bangladesh, 30 March, Dhaka, Bangladesh, pp.26-39.

Shaw G. 1804. General zoology or systematic natural history, 5(1): 1-25.


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Shams works on freshwater ecosystems, primarily fish diversity in terms of their availability, and richness; also aquatic invasive species and their impact on ecosystem. Email: More…

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