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Genetic Evidence Unravels Mysteries Of Xingu Plecos L066 & L333

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#1 Stormfyre


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Posted 24 October 2016 - 12:40 PM

Saw this article and found it interesting. I know these are popular here, so a good little read on the species.


Genetic Evidence Indicates Xingu Plecos L066 & L333 are Same Species

13 Oct, 2016


The Rio Xingu is home to a bewildering array of pleco species, many of which have been in the aquarium hobby for decades now. Despite this fact, the relationships between these species’ complexes are still poorly understood, and relatively few are described scientifically. In a paper published earlier this year, the genetics of several species of Hypancistrus from the region wereanalyzed to help clarify their relationships to one another. Based on this analysis, the authors concluded that two forms of Hypancistrus well known in the hobby—L066 and L333—are in fact differently marked variants (phenotypes) of the same species.


Phenotypes of worm-lined Hypancistrus from the Xingu: (A) juvenile L066; ( B) adult L066; © juvenile L333; and (D) adult L333 (Photo credit: Haakon Haagensen and Daniel Konn-Vetterlein)

The paper, “Integrated Cytogenetic and Mitochondrial DNA Analyses Indicate That Two Different Phenotypes of Hypancistrus (L066 and L333) Belong to the Same Species,” examines not only the genetic material of these two Hypancistrus but also explores their range in the wild and discusses the inter-relationships between other species in the genus. The two species in question–the King Tiger Pleco, Hypancistrus sp. ‘L066′ and Hypancistrus ‘L333’–have both been hobby favorites for many years, due to their intricate patterns of high-contrast lines in black and off-white. Though they were once frequently collected and exported from their native Brazil, both species are now regularly bred in captivity. Although they are quite similar morphologically, hobbyists have generally considered the two to represent distinct species based on differences in pattern and distribution in the wild. The L066 hails from the lower Xingu and probably the nearby Tocantins river, although there appears to be some geographic variation present between populations. The L333 is found much further up the Xingu, closer to the “Big Bend,” or Volta Grande, near the city of Altamira. As indicated in the paper, however, specimens representing both L066 and L333 were genetically indistinct, and therefore unlikely to represent different species.


Sites sampled in the study indicating habitats of L066, L333, and L046. (Image credit: Cardoso et al.)

The authors attribute the apparent differences in patterning between the two plecos to “a pigmentation polymorphism within the species that may represent phenotypic plasticity with adaptation and/or selection of local populations to their environment, or environmentally induced changes in the development of melanic pigment patterns.” In simpler terms, this means that the divergent patterns between L066 and L333 could be due to adaptations to differing environments, or triggered during growth and development by different environmental factors. While much of the paper is spent discussing the finer points of genetic analysis and chromosomal similarities between the fish that were analyzed, the findings do have implications for breeding efforts for these two L-numbers, now likely to be formally described as a single species. Hobby breeders have generally tried to avoid hybridizing these two very similar plecos in an attempt to maintain pure lineages, but it now seems possible that crossbreeding the two L-numbers would technically not be hybridization at all. It also raises interesting questions about our tendency to classify fish—and Loricariids in particular—by their markings alone. While doing so can be useful, especially in the case of L-numbers where few species have been investigated scientifically, it is important to remember that our sometimes arbitrary classification schemes don’t always correspond to nature’s.


Cardoso, A. L., Carvalho, H. L., Benathar, T. C., Serrão, S. M., Nagamachi, C. Y., Pieczarka, J. C., de Sousa, L.M., Ready, J.S., and Noronha, R. C. (2016). Integrated Cytogenetic and Mitochondrial DNA Analyses Indicate That Two Different Phenotypes of Hypancistrus (L066 and L333) Belong to the Same Species. Zebrafish, 13(3), 209-216.

Available here: http://online.lieber...om/toc/zeb/13/3

#2 bigjohnnofish

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 12:05 AM

this did the rounds on facebook some time ago.... there are many more currently different numbered hypancistrus L-cats that fall into this same predicament.... too many to list and more being added on a weekly basis.... there does seem to be quite a few other species that are so closely related as well and after someone spends the time analyzing these we'll get more variants being classified the same.... there are approx 3000 different catfish species currently documented and estimates say there is over 4500 with a lot in uninhabited areas so theres bound to be many double ups along the way

#3 Buccal

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 05:59 PM

Much like Malawi cichlids and the locations, and I guess stingrays to,,,, to me it seems usually the older much more back in time species,, are the great survivors of what old time species we have left today,,,,

The Malawi and tang lakes, are paleo lakes, these date back to large reptiles, which followed with enlarged mammals,, the cichlids from these lakes have been the same fish evolving right up to now, which explains such high level of diversity (all that time and not dying out, just nothing but adapting).
Stingrays no different but even greater survivors,,, tough as nails past adolescence stage.

Undoubtably, our spun out L numbers would be long time great survivors also.

I think there needs to be a line drawn, as to where another specie is called to be another.
I think for the most part, there's highly juiced up fishos that want to name their own fish and be a founder,,,, so one may just go to far.

Does nothing but cause arguments..... :)

Edited by Buccal, 25 October 2016 - 05:59 PM.

#4 Westie


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Posted 25 October 2016 - 08:39 PM

Paleo lakes? Does Pete Evans know this?

#5 dicky7

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 09:51 PM

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
English[edit] Etymology[edit]

From paleo- +‎ lake


paleolake ‎(plural paleolakes)

  1. An ancient lake (especially one that no longer exists)

#6 bigjohnnofish

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 01:11 AM

another new species of pseudacanthicus.... almost weekly additions.... 



#7 Buccal

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 05:24 AM

I love reading that type of documentation.
There is so, so much compacted description with so little words.
Though I must admit, the intriguement and wonder I guess, does set of the stronger interest for it all. :)

#8 Buccal

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 05:38 AM

The Amazon has also taken a interesting history. :)
There has been sea water running through large amounts of it in history, there has been relatively fast change resulting in salt water systems being completely secluded from the ocean.
The mind boggles at all the scenarios that took place as ocean life was trapped in these systems.

When one looks back to the hows and whys, it helps to appreciate the animal itself,,, it's just not a thing that's there, or a collectable,,,,,,,,, but are marvellous survivors and express this through crazy diversity.

Edited by Buccal, 26 October 2016 - 05:39 AM.

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