Language English Tropical Rainforest Photo: Biodôme OngletsDescriptionDistinguishing features The suckermouth catfish has a club-shaped body covered in bony plates, except on the belly. It has a large head and a sucking mouth. It is beigey-grey or greenish-brown, with dark brown or black spots or stripes and a light-coloured belly. Reproduction During spawning, the female deposits 200 to 300 eggs in a rather long, straight, cylindrical cavity, placed so that running water will pass over them. Diet In nature, these omnivorous fish feed on the carpet of algae that covers rocks. Predators Their enemies are birds and other fish. Humans also damage the species by discharging toxic waste into waterways (mining and forestry industries) and by catching them for sale to aquarists. Habitat These fish frequent fresh water bodies throughout the tropics, primarily the beds of rushing streams. They live on the rocky bottoms of fast-moving rivers. They are found in Trinidad and from Panama to Uruguay. Ecology, behaviour These fish remain hidden during the day, but are quite active at night. They are rather poor swimmers, spending most of their time on the bottom and moving about along various substrates. When they do swim freely through the water, they do so in small leaps, undulating their bodies and allowing themselves to sink back quickly to the bottom. They sometimes race along quickly and awkwardly. French namePlécostomus commun Scientific nameHypostomus plecostomusPhylumChordataClassOsteichthyes (bony fish)OrderSiluriformesFamilyLoricariidaeSizeMaximum length in the wild: 60 cm; maximum length in captivity: 30 cmStatusCommon species, commercially exploited for sale to aquarists.