The zebra pleco is a species of catfish endemic to Brazil where it occurs in the Big Bend area of the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon River, was first described in the early 1990s. It gets its name from its white stripes, resembling the colouration of a zebra; this species grows to a length of 6.4 centimetres SL. This fish was exported from Brazil in great numbers for sale as aquarium fish; however the Brazilian government bans the export of certain Hypancistrus, including H. zebra. H. zebra is threatened by the construction of the Belo Monte Dam in the Xingu river which will cause a severe reduction of the water flow of the entire known distribution range of the species. Due to this, the species may soon become extinct in the wild, it is subject to several captive breeding programs. Mature males have longer interopercular spines than females. After spawning, the males will guard the eggs; the fry absorb the yolk sac in two weeks. Hypancistrus zebra is called L046,L098 in terms of the L-numbering convention applied to Loricariidae.
H. zebra requires a high protein diet. Their diet should include small invertebrates such as chironomid-larva, it enjoys live and frozen bloodworm. This species should not be kept in the typical community aquarium, or with discus fish, despite advice to the contrary; these catfish thrive in biotopes with small dither fish. The tank should mimic their natural environment with a substrate of small smooth gravel and pebbles with smooth boulders and rocks forming caves and crevices; the water must be oxygenated with a strong flow and surface agitation. It is an expensive specimen, due to the fact it is available, it is a hard fish to keep, as it needs a fast moving current. They are unable to survive in dirty quarters, it is nocturnal, moderately territorial, prefers plenty of hiding places. In 2004 the Zebra Pleco was added to IBAMA list of endangered species and was made illegal to export from Brazil, although this law is only present in Brazil and certain black market fish traders will smuggle them out of Brazil to sell on in other countries.
As per most pleco, the male will trap the female into a cave where she will lay her eggs for the male to fertilise this is done at around a pH of 6.5-7.2 and a water temp of 27°. This process can take between 1-5 days depending on the experience the female has in motherhood, the male will bite the female to keep her in the cave, this is natural behaviour. Once the eggs are fertilised, the female will leave the male will guard the eggs until they hatch and may stay for early fry stage. Once born, the fry will have a yolk sack attached to their underbelly, this should be gone in a few days. List of freshwater aquarium fish species http://www.brianstropicals.com/pages/Zebra-plecos.html - export ban http://www.zebrapleco.com/ - a web-site dedicated to zebra pleco husbandry and breeding
Martin Humphrey Moynihan was a behavioral evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who studied under Ernst Mayr and Niko Tinbergen, was a contemporary of Desmond Morris. He was the founding director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, his early research was on seagulls. Work included the octopus, Terence McKenna quotes Moynihan in his book Food of the Gods as saying, with respect to the octopus' ability to change its body's shape and color, "Like the octopi, our destiny is to become what we think, to have our thoughts become our bodies and our bodies become our thoughts."He was married to Olga F. Linares, a Panamanian-American anthropologist and STRI senior research scientist. Moynihan died in Albi, France in 1996 of lung cancer, aged 68. Leigh, Egbert Giles. Tropical Forest Ecology: A View from Barro Colorado Island. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509602-6. OCLC 36768102. Royte, Elizabeth; the Tapir's Morning Bath: Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest and the Scientists Who are Trying to Solve Them.