Body with bony plates; mouth ventral, with or without noticeable barbels; ventral lip papillose; adipose fin, when present, usually with a spine at anterior border; relatively long intestine; 23-38 vertebrae. Members of this family may be found from low elevations to swift-flowing streams up to 3,000 m. "Pleco" or "plecostomus" is a name used in the aquarium trade for species in several genera of this family.
This is the largest family of catfishes, with more species being described every year. The recognition of six families and their composition is based on de Pinna (1998) and Reis et al. (2003), which in turn closely followed, with modifications, the classical study of Isbrucker (1980) (who with his co-authors such as Hans Nijssen added much to our knowledge). In Nelson (1994), Lithogenes was placed in the Astroblepidae.
About 92 genera and about 684 species, with one of the species incertae sedis from that in the following list (Reis et al., 2003:318-400). Information on the subfamilies listed below is from the individual chapters in Reis et al. (2003:170-230) written by specialists as follows: Neoplecostominae (C. J. Ferraris, Jr.), Hypoptopomatinae (S. A. Schaefer), Loricariinae (C.J. Ferraris, Jr.), Ancistrinae (S. Fisch-Muller), and Hypostominae (C. Weber). Changes in the composition of the subfamilies Ancistrinae and Hypoptopomatinae is expected with the work of J. W. Armbruster, as well as the description of new species (e.g., Armbruster and Provenzano, 2000).
Subfamily Lithogeneinae. Two species, Lithogenes valencia (described in 2003 and may be extinct) and L.. villosus (Provenzano et al., 2003).
Subfamily Neoplecostominae. Neoplecostomus, with seven species in southeastern Brazil.
Subfamily Hypoptopomatinae. Sixteen genera, e.g., Acestridium, Hisonotus, Hypoptopoma, Microlepidogaster, Otocinclus, Otothyris, Oxyropsis, and Parotocinclus, with 79 species.
Subfamily Loricariinae. About 31 genera, e.g., Crossoloricaria, Farlowella, Harttia, Loricaria, Loricariichthys, Pseudohemiodon, Reganella, Rineloricaria,, Spatuloricaria,, and Sturisoma, with 209 species.
Subfamily Ancistrinae. About 27 genera, e.g., Ancistrus (synonym Xenocara), Chaetostoma, Hemiancistrus, Hypancistrus, Lasiancistrus, Lithoxus, Megalancistrus, Panaque, Peckoltia,, Pseudacanthicus, and Pseudancistrus, with 217 species.
Subfamily Hypostominae. About 16 genera, e.g., Delturus, Glyptoperichthys, Hemipsilichthys, Hypostomus (synonyms Cochliodon and Plecostomus) (H. watwata lives in brackish water), Liposarcus, Pogonopoma,, Pterygoplichthys, Rhinelepis, and Squaliforma, with 169 species.
Superfamily Sisoroidea. This taxon is sister to the Loricarioidea and the amblycipitids are sister to the remaining families of sisoroids (de Pinna, 1996b, 1998). The phylogenetic study of de Pinna (1996b) found that the Erethistidae is the sister group of the Aspredinidae, with the Sisoridae being the sister group of the clade formed by these two families. This was supported in the study of Diogo et al. (2001, 2003). For details of the synapomorphies of the various clades see de Pinna (1996b) and Diogo et al. (2001, 2002, 2003). Five families, 41 or 42 genera, and 230 species.
Family AMBLYCIPITIDAE (135)—torrent catfishes. Freshwater; southern and eastern Asia (Pakistan across northern India to Malaysia and to Korea and southern Japan).
Dorsal fin covered by thick skin; adipose fin present, confluent with caudal fin in some species; dorsal fin base short, spine in fin weak; anal fin base short, with 9-18 rays; four pairs of barbels; lateral line poorly developed or absent. These small fish inhabit swift streams.
Three genera, Amblyceps (11), Liobagrus (13), and Xiurenbagrus (2), with about 26 species (Chen and Lundberg, 1995; Ng and Kottelat, 2000a; Ng, 2001).
Was this article helpful?