Brown Hoplo: Hoplosternum littorale
Brown hoplo is less than a foot long and belongs to family of
fishes known as Callichthyidae; has bony armor consisting of two
rows of large hard scales forming plate-like armor along each side;
dark brown to black in color with two pairs of long barbells on
First documented in the Indian River Lagoon system in 1995; now
found throughout central and south Florida from the St. John's
River to Lake Trafford. Native to eastern South America.
Occur in a variety of freshwater habitats including muddy
bottom and slow moving rivers, streams, side channels, ponds,
marshes, and man-made waterways such as ditches and borrow pits;
larvae and juveniles inhabit shallow water areas with lots of
vegetation; adults prefer foraging in deeper, open water areas;
gulps air, and tolerant of both low oxygen and high
Spawning Habitats: Males build
floating nests in vegetation near shore that consist of bubbles
covered with plant material. Eggs are released by the female below
the nest. The male fertilizes them and then takes them into his
mouth and blows them up into the floating nest. Breeding males
develop enlarged, red pectoral spines with hooks at the tips that
are used to defend territories against other males. The eggs hatch
in about four days.
Feeding Habits: Primarily feeds on
benthic invertebrates and detritus.
Age and Growth:
Grows to about 2 inches in 2 months; however, rarely exceeds 10
Little to none, but can be caught using live worms; normally
fished for with cast nets.
Highly sought after as food by Floridians with cultural ties to
Trinidad and parts of South America; raised as a food fish in
native range; no bag or size limits.
Fishing Tips and Facts: