The Peppermint pleco can reach a length of 17.5 cm (almost 7 inches). It was earlier known as L031 but has now been scientifically described and given the name Parancistrus nudiventris. Other L-numbers sometimes used for the Peppermint Pleco were L176 and L300.
The genus Parancistrus is very small and contains only two species, but it will probably grow bigger in the future as more and more catfish species are scientifically investigated and described. Unlike the other member of the genus, Parancistrus aurantiacus, the Peppermint pleco (Parancistrus nudiventris) has no abdominal plates and its buccal teeth are more prominent. The interorbital distance is also narrower in the Peppermin pleco, it varies from 26.8 to 38%. In Parancistrus aurantiacus, the interorbital distance is 38.5-43.1 %.
Geographical distribution, habitat and care
The Peppermint pleco lives in Rio Xingu in Brazil . (Rio Xingu is tributary of the Amazon River and is located in the northeastern part of Brazil .) The Peppermint pleco is used to tropical temperatures and the water temperature in the aquarium should therefore be kept in the 26-29 degrees C (80-84 degrees F) range.
In the wild, the Peppermint pleco feeds chiefly on algae, but it will happily gulp down insect larvae and other small animals if given the opportunity. The Peppermint pleco should not be forced to live on natural algae growth only in the aquarium - always supplement with algae based prepared foods and fresh vegetables. It will also benefit from occasional servings of meaty food, but only in very limited amounts. Its long intestine is adapted to an algae-based diet and a diet rich in protein and fat and low in fibre can make the Peppermint pleco ill.
Aquarium set up
Since the Peppermint pleco is found in fast moving waters in the wild it will appreciate medium to strong currents in the aquarium. Wild Peppermint plecos spend their life grazing algae from the rocky bottom of Rio Xingu and this species should therefore be provided with plenty of rocks, crevices and caves in the aquarium.
Breeding Peppermint pleco
As far as we know, there are no reports of Peppermint pleco breeding in aquariums. Sexing Peppermint pleco is not very difficult, since the mature males develop prominent odontodal growth on the cheecks, pectoral spines and body plates.
What's in a name?
The genus name Parancistrus is a combination of two Greek words: para which is an affix meaning beside, near, past, beyond or contrary, and agkistron which means hook. The word agkistron has been used to form the genus name Ancistrus.
The species name nudiventris comes from the Latin words nudus , which means naked, and ventris , which means belly.
The Peppermint pleco was earlier assigned the L-number L031. The L-number system is a way for aquarists to avoid confusion when discussing catfishes in the family Loricariidae that has not yet been given scientific names. The L-number system is based on photographs published by the aquarium magazine " Die Aquarien und Terrarienzeitschrift " (DATZ). When a catfish is scientifically described and given a scientific name, the L-number is retired. It is however still good to know about the old L-number of a species since you might stumble upon it in older sources.
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