Overgrown plec dumped in Leicestershire river

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A 25cm long loricariid catfish has been found dead on the banks of a Leicestershire waterway.

According to reports, Shaun Brown, a 14-year old schoolboy, found the dead catfish while fishing at the Grand Union Canal in Wigston.

The fish was believed to be released into the canal when it outgrew someone's aquarium. It was identified as Hypostomus plecostomus, but actually appears to be a Pterygoplichthys species, probably P. pardalis.

According to Shaun, "It was definitely the most interesting thing I've ever come across in the six years I've been fishing.

I caught a 96lb catfish in Spain before, which was as big as me, but this was really weird.

It looked a bit scary. I thought it could have been dangerous.

You can usually only catch roach there. We don't see anything like this around here.

If I had caught it, I would have just thrown it back in the water, but as it was dead, I thought I should find out what it was.

Fisheries scientist Ian Wellby told The Telegraph: It's not something you want in your freshwaters, but it's quite harmless. It's the first one I have ever heard of in Britain. It's a warm-water fish and could not survive our winters.