SILURIFORMES - catfish - Page 4

  • Family: Loricariidae
    A large family of South American catfish. They are normally heavily armoured with bony plates and protected by sharp spines. Most are vegetarian, grazing on algae beds. To assist their life as algae grazers, they are equipped with 'sucker' shaped mouths, which allow them to move efficiently along an algae bed while holding their place in a fast current. Although they have high oxygen requirements, many species are able to supplement their intake in times of emergency by swallowing air which is absorbed through the intestine.

    The family holds many genera, including Ancistrus, Acestridium, Farlowella, Hypoptopoma, Hypostomus, Pterygoplichthys, Rineloricaria, Isorineloricaria, and Sturisoma.

    Ancistrus
    Members of this genus often have outgrowths of bristles around the snout. They are small to medium sized fish which are usually nocturnal bottom feeders that eat algae and other small foods off the bottom and other surfaces.

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    Ventral view of the mouth area of an Ancistrus sp
    Ventral view of the mouth area of an Ancistrus sp

    Lateral view of Ancistrus hoplogenys
    Lateral view of Ancistrus hoplogenys

    View from above of Ancistrus hoplogenys
    View from above of Ancistrus hoplogenys


    Acestridium discus Haseman 1911
    Identification: The only catfish with this general form within the litter-banks. It looks like a stick.
    Colour: Dark brown dorsally, paler on ventral.
    Type locality: Igarape de Cachoeira Grande
    Habitat: Within leaf-litter.
    Abundance: Common, but never abundant.
    Food: Unknown

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    Acestridium discus
    Acestridium discus

    Acestridium discus
    Acestridium discus


    Farlowella
    The members of this genus have slender bodies and a long, thin, head. They often look like twigs, which is probably to act as camouflage.They normally live in litter banks, amongst submerged wood or within floating meadows. At night they can be caught in open water where they are probably foraging for food.

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    View from above of Farlowella acus
    View from above of Farlowella acus


    Hypoptopoma
    There are about 12 species in this genus, they generally have a noticeably flattened head.

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    Lateral view of a Hypoptopoma species
    Lateral view of a Hypoptopoma species

    Dorsal view of a Hypoptopoma species
    Dorsal view of a Hypoptopoma species


    Hypostomus
    This is an extremely large genus with more than 100 species. The sides and top of the body are encased in scutes while the ventral surface is naked. The high, rather sail-like dorsal fin has a spine and 7 rays. These animals are commonly called plecostomids because some common species were once placed in the genus Plecostomus.

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    Lateral view of a Hypostomus species
    Lateral view of a Hypostomus species


    Pterygoplichthys
    The 20 or so members of this genus are similar in form to Hypostomus but can be easily distinguished by their possession of 10 or more rays on the dorsal fin.

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    Lateral view of a recently caught Pterygoplichthys species
    Lateral view of a recently caught Pterygoplichthys species

    Lateral view of a preserved specimen of Pterygoplichthys
    Lateral view of a preserved specimen of Pterygoplichthys

    View from above of a recently caught Pterygoplichthys species
    View from above of a recently caught Pterygoplichthys species


    Rineloricaria
    There are more than 40 species in this genus. They are slender in form with a blunt head; they are commonly called whiptail catfish.

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    Lateral view of a preserved specimen of Rineloricaria
    Lateral view of a preserved specimen of Rineloricaria


    Isorineloricaria

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    A fine specimen of (?)Isorineloricaria spinosissima caught in a floodplain lake
    A fine specimen of (?)Isorineloricaria spinosissima species caught in a floodplain lake


    Sturisoma
    There are about 15 species in this genus. They have an elongated body form with a thin caudal peduncle. Members of this genus are common in floodplain lakes. During the day they hide in floating meadows which they leave at night to enter open water to forage.

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    View of the lateral side of a Sturisoma sp. showing the structure of the lips
    View of the lateral side of a Sturisoma species showing the structure of the lips

    View from above of a Sturisoma species caught in floating meadow
    View from above of a Sturisoma species caught in floating meadow

    View from above of a Sturisoma species
    View from above of a Sturisoma species