Panaque Eigenmann and Eigenmann, 1889

Panaque (Panaqolus) changae, holotype, photo by M.H. Sabaj

Panaque (Panaque) nigrolineatus, photo by M.H. Sabaj

Panaque (Scobinancistrus) aureatus,holotype, photo by J.W. Armbruster


Panaque and Scobinancistrus are clearly closely related and came out in a clade together in Armbruster (2004). Isbrücker et al. (2001) added to the confusion by recognizing Panaqolus for the small species of the P. dentexspecies group. Although all three entities are likely monophyletic, I do not see a point in recognizing them all as separate genera. I think this is a plain case where the recognition of subgenera is warranted. Subgenera allow the maximum use of the Linnean hierarchy to express phylogenetic relationships, and where monophyletic groups are so closely relates and so similar, it seems best to recognize the group as a single genus. Therefore, I recognize Panaqolus and Scobinancistrus as subgenera of Panaque.
SPECIES (P. refers to the subgenus Panaque and Pa. to Panaqolus)


Found in the Río Magdalena, Río Orinoco, Río Amazonas, Essequibo River, and Lago Maracaibo drainages .


Panaque can be identified from all other loricariids except members of the Hypostomus cochliodon group by the presence of either spoon-shaped teeth (Below, B), or elongate, spoon-shaped teeth (Below, C) vs. viliform teeth (below, A). In addition, Panaque can be separated from most similar ancistrins by the lack of a buccal papilla.


In the aquarium trade, species of Panaque are often confused with species of Peckoltia.  The most common species sold under the name of clown plecostomus is Panaque maccus.

Panaque maccus, the clown pleco, Photo by K.S. Cummings


Armbruster, J.W. 1997. Phylogenetic relationships of the sucker-mouth armored catfishes (Loricariidae) with particular emphasis on the Ancistrinae, Hypostominae, and Neoplecostominae. Unpubl. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 409 pp.

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