Suckermouth Catfish

Suckermouth Catfish (Hypostomus plecostomus)

Photo courtesy of DAR


  • Grows up to 50 cm, body covered in armored plates (CABI, 2021)
  • Popular ornamental fish native to northern South America (CABI, 2021)


  • Prefers quiet, slow moving waters (Neilson, 2021)
  • In the US, introduced populations reside in shallow areas of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs (CABI, 2021)`

Impacts & Concern:

  • Compete for food and space with native species due to abundance (Neilson, 2021)
  • Create burrows which cause increased erosion and sedimentation (CABI, 2021)


  • Introduced to Hawaiʻi through aquarium release (Neilson, 2021)

Distribution in Hawaii:

  • Kauai: Unknown
  • Oʻahu: Present (Neilson, 2021)
  • Molokai: Unknown
  • Lanai: Unknown
  • Maui: Present in Kanaha Pond (Neilson, 2021)
  • Big Island: Unknown


  • Neilson, M.E. (2021) Hypostomus sp. (watwata group): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, Retrieved July 15, 2021, from, Revision Date: 6/14/2019, Peer Review Date: 10/22/2013
  • CABI, 2021. Hypostomus plecostomus. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.