The genus Hypancistrus keeps growing. Even though Brazilian law prohibits the export of new species, some still show up in the nets of collectors, and some even find their way into the hobby. Some years ago, what appeared to be a new species of Hypancistrus showed up on the website of a Japanese importer. These were labeled Hypancistrus sp. «Yamunda», another name for what we know better as Nhamundá, Brazil. Nhamundá is well known for it's beautiful strains of Discus, which are extensively collected there. However, in latter years the collectors who supply the Asian market have also collected species of Loricariidae in this and other habitats where Discus are caught. This has resulted in some new imports to the Asian market, like this Hypanciustrus.
Name: Hypancistrus sp. “L475”
Trade names: L475, Hypancistrus sp. «Nhamundá», Hypancistrus sp. «Yamundá» (Japan)
Origin: Rio Nhamundá, Brazil
Maximum size: 14 cm / 6''
For a long time it was impossible to determine if it was indeed from Nhamundá. Meanwhile, very similar types of Hypancistrus showed up in the hobby but with different locations attached to their name; H.sp.«Manaus», H.sp.«Madeira» and H.sp.«Uatumá» are all types with a clear similarity to the so called Nhamundá fish. None of them have however been confirmed to actually come from where their nickname suggests, until now.
In November 2013, Rupert Collins was part of a science team collecting species right by the town of Nhamundá (-2.19081, -56.7084). In this habitat the water was slightly murky and without current. The temperature was 32 C, conductivity 5 uS/cm. Other species observed were Ancistrus aff. macrophthalmus, Peckoltia cf. vittata, Crenicichla sp., Pterophyllum scalare, Symphysodon sp., Platydoras sp. and Tatia nigra. The team only collected at this site, so the distribution of the species in the area may be larger. In a couple of hours, 3 collectors caught 12 specimens of this Hypancistrus. The Peckoltia species was much more abundant. They were told by the fisherman who worked there that he mostly collected Discus, but even the Peckoltia and the Hypancistrus were collected for the ornamental trade. He was however paid the same price for the Hypancistrus as for the Peckoltia, so he didn't make too much of an effort to find them.
L475 is variable in it's pattern, like most other representatives of the genus. It mostly resembles L270 from Rio Curua-Una and the Colombian types from the H.debilittera group, but these are all smaller than the Nhamundá species which grows to 12-14 cm (based on reports from the Japanese importer. The largest specimen collected by R.Collins and his crew was 73.1 mm SL). Also, L475 has a higher, more stocky body. Collins counted 7-13 teeth in the premaxilla of the collected individuals. The recently imported H.sp.“Uatumá” is very similar to L475, and may eventually prove to be the same species. We still await confirmation that confirms whether or not this type actually originates from Uatumá.
Interestingly enough, a third similar Hypancistrus form labeled H.sp.“Madeira” also entered the trade in recent years. Like L475 and H.sp.“Uatumá”, even H.sp.“Madeira” appear to coexists with a similar looking Peckoltia type in it's natural habitat, and is exported together with it. The Hypancistrus are however largely outnumbered by the Peckoltia in each case.
Currently, L475 is not allowed for export from Brazil. In the meantime, Japanese aquarists are already breeding it, and the Peckoltia species from the same area is occasionally imported so there is a chance that even L475 may show up in Europe in small numbers as well. If it does, it would be a great addition and one that should be carefully looked after by breeders to make sure it's established in the hobby.