Hypostomus, Spotted

Hypostomus punctatus

Adult length: up to 12 in. (30 cm); appearance: a suckermouth, armor plates, strong dorsal and pectoral fin spines, and the omega iris; coloration: a light brown coloration with a pattern of darker brown spots; like other plecostomus, females are rounder than males.








Southeastern Brazil


Freshwater fast-flowing rivers and coastal drainages

Life Expectancy

Up to 18 years in the wild; up to 10 years in captivity

Sexual Maturity



In the wild, they eat algae, detritus, plants and roots; in the Zoo, they are fed a scientifically developed, commercially available pelleted fish food and algae wafers.


Not listed


The spotted Hypostomus is usually skittish and quickly hides whenever it senses danger. In the wild, the spotted Hypostomus is thought to spawn in mud burrows dug into the side of riverbanks.


During the day, their unusual omega irises (see diagram) allows Loricariids to adjust the amount of light that enters their eye, and they can roll their eye within their sockets.

Special Interests

The species name, punctatus, means “spotted”. This species is often identified generically under the common name Plecostomus, Pleco or Plec. The name “plecostomus” means “folded mouth” (pleco means “pleat” and stoma means “mouth”), but it has since been applied to any of a large number of species that have a similar shape, but vary widely in terms of maximum length, coloration, and certain body features such as the “horns” on the bristlenose catfish (genus Ancistrus). Hypostomus punctatus is difficult to distinguish from closely related species, such as Hypostomus plecostomus. Identification is relatively difficult as there are many different similar species labeled as Common Pleco. This species has a light brown coloration with a pattern of darker brown spots. Because of this, the species is known as the Spotted Hypostomus. There are many types of suckermouth armored catfishes that science has not described. As a result, they are given a common name and an L-number designation until a new scientific name for the fish is described. An example is the flash plecostomus, L204, believed to be a species of Panaque. In the aquarium, it is suitable for an appropriately sized community tank, being peaceful to most other fish. However, large individuals of this fish are territorial and may be somewhat aggressive to its own kind.



Jacksonville Zoo History

We may have had Hypostomus earlier, but we know they have been here since 2005.