Megalechis thoracata – Spotted Hoplo

Megalechis thoracata or Spotted Hoplo, is a very peaceful armored catfish, as a nesting place it builds a foam nest. Their former name is Hoplosternum thoracata.

Megalechis thoracata – Spotted Hoplo

Megalechis thoracata was first described in 1840 by Valenciennes. Previously this species was known as Hoplosternum thoracatum but has been assigned by scientists in a different genus and is now called Megalechis thoracata. Their common name is Spotted Hoplo.

Megalechis can be divided into two derived ancient Greek words. Megas means large and lekis means plate; a reference to the extremely large developed coracoid bone, the bone to which the pectoral fins are attached. Thoracata means armoured.

The locals use the name Kwikwi for this and two other species. In Suriname this species is used in the kitchen. They distinguish three different types:

  • Callichthys callichthys – Platkop KwieKwie
  • Megalechis thoracata – Catharina Kwie Kwie
  • Hoplosternum littorale – Sokè Kwie Kwie


Megalechis thoracata is a very peaceful species in which the males can hardly be distinguished from the females. Only during mating does the male show a pearly colour on their belly.


Megalechis thoracata can be found in South America in the drainages of the Amazon, Rio Orinoco and the upper parts of the Rio Paraguay. They also occur in the coastal rivers of Guyana and northern Brazil.

Breeding Spotted Hoplo

You would not expect it from its appearance but this armoured catfish builds a foam nest to lay its eggs (up to 800) in. The male guards the nest and only during this period is he somewhat intolerant. Like real armoured catfish, they are always searching for food on the substrate. Make sure to feed them sinking wafers and other sinking foods. They don’t eat plants.

Spotted Hoplos can become quite aggressive in the aquarium. It can even result in casualties and scared fish that try to hide between the plants. Even the young Corydoras albinos were literally cornered by the Spotted Hoplo, as he was trying to crush the Corydoras by striking them with its tail. Crushing them between his tail and the glass. They show this behaviour when they want to spawn. Do not keep this species in an aquarium that is too small to prevent casualties during the spawning period.

The Spotted Hoplo or Megalechis thoracata in the first video plays with a Cattapa leaf. He wants to bring the leaf to the surface to build a foam nest.



John de Lange

Copyright images

Jorik van Os
Jan Bukkems – Aquavisie


Is de Kwie Kwie een geschikte teeltvis? uit AquaCultuur door J. Scheerboom

Additional information






Callichthys exaratus, Callichthys longifilis, Callichthys personatus, Callichthys thoracatus, Hoplosternum personatus, Hoplosternum thoracatum, Hoplosternum thoracatum surinamensis, Hoplosternum thoracatum thoracatum, Megalechis personata

Common name

Catharina Kwie Kwie, Spotted Hoplo

First described by

Achille Valenciennes


Breeding behaviour





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