The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Otocinclus sp.
Otocinclus sp.
(suckermouth catfish)

Copyright Info
Otocinclus sp. Cope, 1871

Common name: suckermouth catfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Schaefer (1997) revised the group and recognized 13 species in the genus Otocinclus; he also provided identification keys along with photographs and illustrations. For color photographs see Sands (1984), Burgess (1989), and Ferraris (1991). Similar species include members of the loricariid genera Microlepidogaster, Parotocinclus, Pseudotocinclus, and Schizolecis (Schaefer 1997), and to a lesser extent Hypoptopoma.

Size: about 4.5 cm SL.

Native Range: Tropical America. South America including the Amazon, Orinoco, La Plata-Parana, and Sao Francisco river basins, and also coastal drainages of southeastern Brazil (Schaefer 1997).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Otocinclus sp. are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CO198619861San Luis

Table last updated 7/22/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Probable escape from local fish farm (Zuckerman and Behnke 1986).

Status: Reported from Colorado.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: Several Otocinclus species occur in the aquarium trade (Sands 1984; Burgess 1989). According to Zuckerman (personal communication), voucher specimens from his San Luis Valley collections were deposited with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Fort Collins. As of 1996, all, or most of, the preserved material of Zuckerman was being incorporated into the MSB collection in Albuquerque. However, a recent listing of the MSB holdings did not include Otocinclus.

References: (click for full references)

Burgess, W. E. 1989. An atlas of freshwater and marine catfishes: a preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Ferraris, C. J., Jr. 1991. Catfish in the aquarium. Tetra Press, Morris Plains, NJ.

Zuckerman, L. D., and R. J. Behnke. 1986. Introduced fishes in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Pages 435-452 in R. H. Stroud, editor. Fish culture in fisheries management. Proceedings of a symposium on the role of fish culture in fisheries management at Lake Ozark, MO, March 31-April 3, 1985. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller

Revision Date: 5/9/2019

Peer Review Date: 12/5/2003

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller, 2024, Otocinclus sp. Cope, 1871: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=764, Revision Date: 5/9/2019, Peer Review Date: 12/5/2003, Access Date: 7/22/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/22/2024].

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