Bushy nose plecos get their common name from the growths that develop on the heads of mature males. These growths make the males look like they are wearing a beard. For many years, these growths were used to differentiate many species; but then it was discovered that individual males would have more or less bristles at different times of the year. The exact mechanism for this is still not completely understood, but many experts believe it is associated with reproduction. In the aquarium, most Ancistrus species that have been spawned to date will spawn year round; so, many males retain their full regalia throughout the year.