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Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps is a species of freshwater fish of the genus Pterygoplichthys of the family Loricariidae of order Siluriformes. This species is found throughout river basins in the Amazon region of South America.
A typical plec shape is shown, patternation consists of primarily irregular largish brown spots on a yellowish backgroung giving a honeycombed like appearance, additional pattern features common to related species may be visible on close inspection. As this fish grows the spots get relatively smaller.
Like most plecs this species is primarily vegetarian though will eat dead animals.
In the wild these fish are found in shoals in sluggish rivers of the Amazon and Orinoco river systems, they also occupy flooded land during the wet season. During the dry season P. gibbiceps will aestivate in burrows around 1 metre long dug into mud banks along the length of a river, egg rearing is also presumed to take place in burrow.
The species name comes from the Latin ‘gibbus’ – hump and Greek ‘Cep’ – head, a reference to the centrally located ridge. Common names include ‘gibbys’, leopard sailfin catfish and clown plecs – the juveniles have a comical appearance due to the large and obvious spots.
Ancistrus gibbiceps and Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps are synonyms of P. gibbiceps.