Zoological Studies

Vol. 57, 2018

(update: 2018.02.01; 02.14)

The Global Invasion of the Suckermouth Armored Catfish Genus Pterygoplichthys (Siluriformes: Loricariidae): Annotated List of Species, Distributional Summary, and Assessment of Impacts

Alexander Benjamin Orfinger1,*, and Daniel Douglas Goodding1


1Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd. Orlando, Florida, USA 32825

(Received 1 November 2017; Accepted 25 January 2018; Communicated by Hin-Kiu Mok)

Alexander Benjamin Orfinger and Daniel Douglas Goodding (2018) The suckermouth armored catfish genus Pterygoplichthys (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) includes popular aquarium fishes and constitutes one of the most successful freshwater invasive taxa, having achieved global distribution. To date, however, no comprehensive distributional record nor impact assessment exist for the spread of the genus, precluding informed management strategies. To provide these tools, our study aims to (1) provide an annotated checklist of species for this taxonomically confusing genus, (2) survey all available literature on the spread of the genus and summarize and map its invasive distribution, and (3) assess the overall socioeconomic and environmental impact of the genus on a global scale using the Generic Impact Scoring System (GISS). First, we provide an updated annotated species list. We then summarize seventy-one unique invasion records along with twenty-one instances of demonstrated impacts. Species of the genus Pterygoplichthys have now invaded five continents and twenty-one countries, and show an extended range in their native South America. Impact analysis yielded a GISS score of 18 to 19, indicating low to moderate levels of socioeconomic and environmental threats. However, to bolster the confidence in this analysis in future iterations, more research should aim to move beyond just "first records" and instead empirically evaluate species’ effects on native ecosystems.

Key words: Generic Impact Scoring System, Armored sailfin catfish, Distribution, Aquarium trade, Fisheries.

*Correspondence: Tel: +13862902505. E-mail: aborfinger@gmail.com

Supplementary Material: Appendix 1