Cat-eLog Right Arrow Loricariidae Right Arrow Hypostominae Right Arrow Pterygoplichthys

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NamePterygoplichthys scrophus  (Cope, 1874)
Common NamesChocolate Pleco
Alligator Pleco, Rhino Pleco
Type LocalityNauta, Peru.
Synonym(s)Glyptoperichthys scrophus, Liposarcus scrophus
Pronunciationterry gop LICK thees - skro fuss
EtymologyGreek, pterygion, diminutive of pteryx = wing, fin + Greek, hoplon = weapon + Greek, ichthys = fish. Masculine form of "scrofa", which means "breeding sow".
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 275mm or 10.8" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationPterygoplichthys can be identified by the number of rays in the dorsal fin. 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).

These plecos have large nostril two horn-like protrusions from their head that are actually nasal flutes or nostril flaps. The also have alligator-like ridges along the sides of their body. Colours range from a rich brown to black to mottled brown.
SexingComparison 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.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionSouth America: Marañon and Ucayali River basins.
Amazon, Upper Amazon, Marañón, Ucayali (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Amazon, Upper Amazon, Marañón (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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pH6.0 - 7.6
Temperature22.0-28.0°C or 71.6-82.4°F (Show species within this range)
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingAn adaptible omnivore that will eat a variety of foods, besides being a very good algae eater, supplement diet with sinking pellet foods and algae wafers. Vegetables and freeze dried foods also accepted.
FurnitureAll but the most robust of plants tend to be eaten or uprooted. Flat stones and bogwood are required to construct caves. Will even eat floating plants. A good pleco for the deeper aquarium.
CompatibilityA generally peaceful fish but can be aggressive with other bottom dwellers of similar size/species if not given sufficient room.
Suggested TankmatesAlmost any medium sized community fish.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesProc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. v. 26 136
International exploration of freshwater No.7, vol.2
Registered Keepers(1) Persephone, (2) Chrysichthys, (3) HylaChristine (p: 4), (4) Chi-Chi, (5) MisanthropeKitty, (6) Belial, (7) bluenewt, (8) joepleco, who also notes: "The hardiest of fish, keeping it it for nearly a decade, mine has better coloration being various alternating shades of chocolate,cedar,cinnamon and mocha. When I bought him?her? I picked the brightest one from the tank, and it stayed that way.", (9) Junttis, (10) corylover14 (p: 12), (11) ashik, (12) weisel, (13) joe.juice13, (14) briggadane (k: 2), (15) Tasplec, (16) doesdavid, (17) Thalan, (18) stratofish (p: 3), (19) dragonfish, (20) xander, (21) Breezer, (22) EdieBird, (23) mark woodhouse, (24) royaldragoness, (25) tezr, (26) mangopleco, who also notes: "Most peacefulfish", (27) smitty, who also notes: "Purchased at 2 inches", (28) bulldogsimon, (29) GER1023, (30) klink5, (31) NC24 (p: 2), (32) 000, (33) rayfong, (34) adrisdad, (35) Groovylad, (36) YARIS, (37) Decker504, (38) arapaimag, (39) JFishNerd (k: 2), (40) john_d, (41) Joeka, (42) milosz, (43) blu, (44) Max Chumachenko (k: 2), (45) Pcpolo111, (46) DKcincy, (47) jonhybravo2, who also notes: "This is a stiking specimin. It looks like a dinasaur. Its fin looks like it can cut steel. Brown banded dark colored. One of the most beautiful plecs I have ever seen.", (48) uaru, (49) Hoplon, (50) Divinehammer, (51) wax32, (52) fishdoc, (53) rcbows, who also notes: "Beautiful fish easy to handle; picked up with hands rather than a net.", (54) telsonboy, (55) Toolsforfish, (56) monsterfishkeeper, (57) Norbert, (58) madpeace21, (59) TheFishGuy, (60) TerriV, (61) JeanPro, (62) nasTodor, (63) PlecFan (k: 4), (64) CoryCatfish1212 (p: 4, k: 4), (65) DHarris, (66) sweetkitty, (67) Rhomadeas, (68) Daperre, (69) Camsmith5215, (70) slayer5590, (71) dmfd0331, (72) EthanRuss (p: 2, k: 2).

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Breeding ReportsNone.
Article - CotM 2011 July
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Last Update2013 Jul 19 00:08 (species record created: 2001 Apr 28 00:00)