Spectracanthicus sp. L197
Not all L-numbers are covered in striking patterns and colours. This does however not make them any less interesting, and for some enthusiasts the uniform, dark appearance of the so-called “Pineapple Plecos” L197 and L269 makes them even more appealing than the more commercially available species. With their almost ancient-looking exterior, combined with their rareness, these Plecos are held in very high regard among a small group of fishkeepers. L197 is not on the IBAMA positive list, and if it ever shows up in the trade it’s only in very limited numbers. It does appear to have a rather wide distribution in some of the major eastern Amazonian affluents, but since the first import in 1995 it has only occurred very sporadically in the hobby. It has not been bred in aquarium, so there is no established stock of L197 in captivity, and with it’s modest looks this is not likely to ever change. It will probably remain a very sought-after collectors item for a few dedicated aquarists.
Name: Spectracanthicus sp. L197
Trade names: Pineapple Pleco, Ananas Pleco, L197
Origin: Rio Jari, Rio Xingu, Rio do Pará, Brazil.
Maximum size: 15 cm / 6''
These fish must be kept in well filtered and clean aquariums with lots of hiding places. They are peaceful towards other fish, but the males can be territorial and aggressive towards each other. L197 is an omnivore, and should be fed a varied diet consisting of crustaceans, shrimps, fish meat, Spirulina tablets and quality dry foods. Although no breeding reports exist, they should certainly breed in typical Loricariidae fashion under the right circumstances. Males can be recognized by their heavy odontodal growth and broader head, whereas ripe females will show off a fuller belly, especially when viewed from above.
The very similar L269 from Rio Tapajos has been scientifically described as Spectracanthicus immaculatus. This classification is highly debateable, as there are numerous traits separating both L269 and L197 from the Genus Spectracanthicus. Apart from the distribution, L197 can be told apart from L269 by their “colours”; L269 is a darker, almost black form. L197 is lighter.