Hypancistrus sp. L470

Photo: Haakon Haagensen


The existence of this form was pointed out to me by Janne Ekström several years ago. During the years when lots of so called L399, L400 and even L173 were exported/imported from Brazil, several unusual Xingu based forms hid beneath these monikers. One of them was H.sp. “Mimic”, a variety of L399/400. It’s found syntopically with L174 downstream of Altamira, and because it’s so difficult to recognize it has passed under the radar of even the most aware enthusiasts for years. Currently, no breeding groups of this form are known to exist anywhere in captivity, but this will hopefully change in the not so distant future.


Name: Hypancistrus sp. L470

Trade names:

Origin: Rio Xingu, Brazil.

Maximum size: 12 cm / 5”

“The Xingu Mess”, which is a tempting label to all the wormlined/spotted Xingu forms of Hypancistrus, holds quite a few surprises. One of them is H.sp.“Mimic”. I noticed while looking through various pictures, mostly online, that some individuals of Hypancistrus from Rio Xingu seemed to have small eyes like L174, but yet they were different to L174 in other ways. Even one of the original pictures of L400 by André Werner shows such an individual. I discussed the matter with Janne Ekström, who could tell that we were dealing with a form of Hypancistrus currently without l-number, a form found living syntopically with L174 in deeper pools between Altamira and Belo Monte. H.sp.“Mimic”, as we called it due to it’s apparent mimicry of L174, is probably another population of the same species which contains L173 and L399/400. H.sp.“Mimic” does however have small eyes like L174, and a longer, flatter head than L399/400. Compared to L174, H.sp.“Mimic” grows larger and has a pattern that often consists more of short lines than just spots.

They need an aquarium set up consisting of lots of hiding places in the form of rocks, wood and of course specially made caves that suit their measurements. In these the males will eventually guard their offspring. They prefer water that is fairly warm (27-30 C), soft and slightly acidic. Most of all it should be well oxygenated and clean, so a good filtration system and frequent water changes are essential. Among themselves they are fairly peaceful, although males may quarrel for caves and females can sometimes be badly injured or even killed during the breeding-trapping in the male’s cave. Males develop longer odontodes on their pectoral fins and on their cheeks, and have broader heads. Hypancistrus are mostly carnivorous, so a selection of crustaceans, insect larvae and fish meat should be offered along with high quality dried foods that also contain some vegetable matter.

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