heterodon Isbrücker & Nijssen,
t's the month of July 2014 and
we pay homage to the World Cup which is being held in Brazil
of course this year and so we feature a catfish from this country,
namely Leporacanthicus heterodon from the middle Rio
Xingu, and to celebrate the wonderful game and also some of
the strange haircuts on view, which I will explain later.
L. heterodon is is the smallest
species in this genera. The genus Leporacanthicus
is characterised by the possession
of having a small suckermouth with lip barbels on the top and
pointed teeth. The Leporacanthicus genus is readily identifiable
from all other Ancistrini by the development of only two teeth
in each premaxilla, the inner teeth being very long (all other
Ancistrini have more than two teeth in the premaxilla), by having
a well-raised supraoccipital crest (the supraoccipital in most
Ancistrini is flat to slightly raised) and by having numerous
long barbels above the upper jaws. It has been hypothesized
that the enlarged teeth of the upper jaw are used to remove
snails from their shells (Burgess 1994).
crest with odontodes
Coming back to the strange haircuts scenario
we can see in the above image a small crest on the head (the
supraoccipital crest) which is formed by enlarged odontodes
and would go down very well passing the ball about in a Brazilian
world cup game....with apologies to anybody who is not the least
interested in the beautiful game.
The collection point for L. heterodon
is the middle Rio Xingu which has been in the aquaristic news
in the past couple of years with the inclusion of the Belo Monte
Dam which will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric
dam on the Rio Xingu – a major tributary of the Amazon.
The Xingu is one of the most biologically diverse waterways
on the planet, not to mention home to many well-known aquarium
fish. Officially known as the Belo Monte Dam Complex, this project
will divert 80% of the Xingu’s water flow and, in effect,
flood over 1,500 square kilometers of Brazilian rainforest,
not to mention the aquatic and wildlife that inhabit that area.
This will lead to changes in the water chemistry which are predicted
and a lot of our aquarium Loricariids, including Hypancistrus
zebra, are set to perish from these dramatic changes in
water chemistry and the changes in food sources that will result
from the modification of the river.
Head narrow and pointed with a small crest
formed by prominent odontodes on the posterior extremity of the
supraoccipital process. Snout sharp. Upper lip fringed.
Grey to gold with black spots distributed
irregularly over the whole body. Spots are prominent on the head.
Body colour can vary but males tend to have
Can be housed with most small to medium
community fish but bare in mind that they can be territorial and
so other fish would be better chosen to be housed in the upper
echelons of the aquarium.
This catfish can
be territorial with its own kind and so must have a big
enough aquarium if more than one is kept. Regular water
changes must be adhered to, and also having a powerful
filter system that can deliver a high oxygen content.
Hiding places are beneficial to this fish with bogwood
or wood of some description and/or some rockwork. This
species can sometimes be problematic in the aquarium due
to its sharp teeth which can shred plants, damage other
inhabitants of the tank and also the silicon sealant that
is in the corner framework.
|The males have a more
elongated body and a broader head and they also posses short
odontodes on the edges of the snout which the females lack
and the males also tend to have a better body colouration.
This genus has been bred in an aquarium
that is around the 200 litre mark with soft to medium hard water.
The spawning's can be triggered by large water changes and increasing
the water circulation of the tank. 30 to 40 eggs are laid and
the larvae hatch in about 6 days. The fry can be reared with
flake foods, tablets and fine frozen foods.
This is a breeding report from Norwegian
aquarist Ole Paulsen. "It can be bred in 80 liter tanks
too. Most importantly for breeding this species successfully
is to have a cave with an opening on the side or in the middle.
They breed in normal caves also but they prefer side openings.
Mosquito larvae, shrimps, crustaceans and
From the Latin; "lepus",
"leporis" meaning rabbit and from the Greek, "akantha"
In relation to the premaxilla
(an upper jaw bone) e.g. premaxillary tooth band.
process: Unpaired bone at the back of
the skull, usually with a crest.
- like stuctures on the body
Cramer, C. Konn-Vetterlein,
Daniel. Tanke, Andreas. 2013.
Loricariids of the Middle Rio Xingu. 2nd. Edition.
Datz Special: All L-Numbers: Habitat,
Care & Diet.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of
catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes),
and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
2008. Back to Nature guide to L-catfishes, Ettlingen,
Germany 208 p
Internet Conversation. July
Top image: ©
Haakon Haagensen @
Bottom image: © Johnny