Phallichthys quadripunctatus

Phallichthys quadripunctatus (W.A.Bussing, 1979)

Meaning of Name: Phallichthys meaning phallus or gonopodium – quadripunctatus in reference to the four distinct spots on the body.

First Description: Phallichthys quadripunctatus W. A. Bussing, 1979
Bussing, W.A., 1979: A new fish of the genus Phallichthys (Family Poeciliidae) from Costa Rica

Type Locality:  small tributary of Rio Sixaola, Costa Rica.

Size: Male 30 mm females 35 mm

Behaviour: Peaceful

Group: Poeciliidae

Distribution: Costa Rica

Populations: Rio Sixaola, Costa Rica.

Habitat: Found in a road side ditch, marsh areas, and shallow slow moving streams

Distinguishing Characteristics: The Males gonopodium is large and is the reason Carl Hubbs gave the genus the name Phallichthys. They have a more elongated body than the larger species

Colour/Pattern Variability: The body colour is a pale yellow grey with scale pockets edged black, the belly and ventral half of head is white. Pectoral, pelvic and caudal fins clear and anal fin has black interradial membranes. four black spots are found along the body the dorsal fin has a feint black edge sometimes edged with white

Breeding Notes: Brood sizes can vary and range from 5 to 20, no need to separate the pairs as they don’t seem to predate on the fry. Females will produce fry every four weeks depending on temperature.

Husbandry: Water conditions are generally a P.H. between 7 and 8 with a temperature range of 20C to 34C. a Planted tank is not totally necessary but will make them more comfortable and they will show better colours and behaviour.
In the wild their feeding habits consist of sifting through bottom detritus for diatoms, insect larvae & filamentous algae, but in the aquarium they will eat flake and more than happy to feed on any available live foods.

Personal experiences:
Paddy Davies: Kept this species in a small 40 litre tank as a colony for years, temperature was about 22 degrees C. Very slow air operated sponge filter was used. This species did not do well when moved to a larger tank. Best kept with own species and not mixed with others (except maybe small cory species such as C.pygmaeus and peaceful shrimp)

General Remarks: Swims in small groups near the surface of turbid waters, on the shoreline or among the undergrowth.

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2 Responses to Phallichthys quadripunctatus

  1. Dan Fromm says:

    P. quadripunctatus gets into Panama. I’ve collected it as far east as approximately Chiriqui Grande.

  2. Dan Fromm says:

    Slight correction. For localities in Panama, see

    Biff’s Río Cañaveral specimens were misidentified until I worked STRI’s cyprinidontiforms over in ’98.

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