L516 - Lasiancistrus sp. (L516)    

Article © Erlend D Bertelsen, uploaded July 11, 2020.

We are, again, grateful to have Erlend Bertelsen write about the latest new L-number pleco which, as Erlend explains, he found on a recent trip to South America.

Most people really don't care about Lasiancistrus spp. in general. On one side you have the easy to keep and breed genera; Ancistrus, Peckoltia, Panaqolus and Hypancistrus; on the other side you have tough and nice looking Pseudacanthicus, Leporacanthicus, Panaque and Scobinancistrus. In-between this you have some forgotten genera, which don't have that big a fan base.

Lasiancistrus contains six described species. L. caucanus, L. guacharote, L. heteracanthus, L. saetiger, L. schomburgkii and L. tentaculatus. In addition to the described species, we also have around 10 known L-numbers. It is likely that some of these would be placed in the already described species, if the scientific community had a look at them. I would say that many of the known L-numbers would fall in under L. schomburgkii, L. heteracanthus and L. tentaculatus.

In DATZ 07/20 I introduced L-516. This is a Lasiancistrus from Río San Pedro in Colombia. This river feed the bigger Río Caqueta. The fish was collected on my collecting trip to Colombia in 2019. To be honest, I didn't spend much time looking at this new Lasiancistrus sp. when I collected them. Well, it was only a Lasiancistrus! It was not before around 10 months after I arrived back home I understood I was facing something new. Lasiancistrus sp. L-516 do resemble Lasiancistrus caucanus the most regarding the general look, but the fact that this fish is collected on the different side of the Andes mountains, makes the author consider that this is a new fish. The wavy black striped pattern on the brown background doesn't fit Lasiancistrus caucanus either. The only way to say for sure it isn't Lasiancistrus caucanus is by looking for abdominal plates. Sadly photos were not taken of ventral abdominal plates. However, there is more then enough evidence to say this is a new L-number with its special pattern not seen in any other Lasiancistrus.

They where collected in the distribution area of Lasiancistrus schomburgkii, but pattern and colour should rule out that species. The fact that we also collected the real Lasiancistrus schomburgkii in the same river should also point out that this is a new Lasiancistrus, and that these two species live together in Río San Pedro and maybe in Río Caqueta itself. I don't think we will see this fish in the trade, due to the low popularity of Lasiancistrus in general, and that we don't see much fishing for the ornamental trade in the Caqueta region.

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