Gape short, usually not reaching orbit; three or four branchiostegal rays; adipose fin present or absent; anal fin with 8-14 rays; dorsal fin in front of anal fin, usually over pelvic fins (often behind in the Pyrrhulinini, which also have an elongate upper caudal fin lobe); scales large, 17-33 in longitudinal series.
Two subfamilies with seven genera (Derhamia with one species is not assigned to subfamily) and 61 species (Weitzman and Weitzman, 2003).
Subfamily Lebiasininae. Four branchiostegal rays; maxilla relatively long.
Two genera, Lebiasina (8) and Piabucina (9), with about 17 species. Subfamily Pyrrhulininae. Three branchiostegal rays; maxilla short.
Two tribes are recognized: Pyrrhulinini, with about 27 species, in Copeina (2), Copella (8), and Pyrrhulina (17); and Nannostomini, which contains the one genus of pencilfishes, proper, Nannostomus (16, synonym Poecilobrycon).
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