Pseudolithoxus anthrax L235

Photo: Mark Sabaj Perez


The best known Flyer Cat is L235. It’s the largest of the Pseudolithoxus species, and the most common import. As an aquarium fish it’s a bit more delicate and challenging than the better known Hypancistrus, Peckoltia, Panaqolus and Ancistrus species. Flyer Cats need a good current, lots of oxygen, clean water and the right kind of food to thrive. They are also notoriously shy, taking much time to adapt enough to new surroundings to come out and forage during the day. Their nickname obviously refers to the extremely long pectoral fins of Pseudolithoxus species, which gives them a different and appealing exterior.


Name: Pseudolithoxus anthrax (Armbruster & Provenzano, 2000)

Trade names: L235, Whitespot Flyer Cat

Origin: Rio Atabapo, Rio Ventuari, Rio Caura, Rio Aro, Rio Casiquiare, Venezuela.

Maximum TL: 17 cm / 7”

Flyer Cats need a good amount of hiding places among flat stones arranged to make crevices. They prefer fast flowing, acidic water with lots of oxygen and high temperatures. Obviously, good water hygiene is essential. Typical nocturnal creatures, they will rarely venture out from their caves during daytime, but after some period of settling in they may make strides to grab some food before returning to their shelters again. Food should be varied, but high quality dry foods, insect larvae, crustaceans and some vegetable matter should be the main menu. Too much protein rich food is not good for them. Breeding Flyer Cats is rare, but P.dumus has at least been bred in Germany. The male preferred a cave with opening in both ends. Even though males have more prolonged odontodes on their pectoral fins, even females show a significant odontodal growth. On the tip of their snout the males develop very short odontodes.

P.anthrax can be confused with P.nicoi and P.sp.“Rio Guaporé”. P.nicoi has a narrow white edge on their dorsal and caudal fin which P.anthrax lacks. Also, P.anthrax has smaller spots and a larger adult size. P.sp.“Rio Guaporé” has shorter pectoral fins and a shorter head than P.anthrax, and is also not collected for the ornamental trade.

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