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Rhinelepis strigosa Valenciennes, 1840


first came across this species, in the flesh so to speak, in Pier Aquatics in Wigan in the north of England, September 2014 and was instantly engrossed by the unusual make up of this Loricariid which resembled a creature from a prehistoric age. This species has also thick plates and lacks an adipose fin.


Rhinelepis strigosa


The Rhinelepis group has a total of only nine species distributed in the Amazon, Paraná, and Sáo Francisco basins and some smaller, coastal streams in south eastern Brazil. The Rhinelepis group is an assemblage of four genera of medium to large sized species. This group is unique among Loricariids for possessing a round (normal) iris versus a bilobed iris (although it is often hard to see the flap in bilobed, preserved fishes). The aforementioned Rhinelepsis group consists of Pogonopoma, Pogonpomoides, Pseudorinelepsis and Rhinelepsis and together they form a morphological clade within the subfamily Hypostominae.


Phylogenetic analysis tells us that there is a split between the Amazonian genus of Pseudorinelepsisand the remainder of the genera which occur in southeastern Brazil. It has been noted that the gill openings of Rhinelepsis are large which contradicts that in most Loricariids which are very much restricted.





Rhinelepis strigosa = Full on head view

Full on head view



There are only two described species of Rhinelepsis the other being R. aspera. R. strigosa can be told apart from R. aspera by having rougher scutes with odontodes. The Rhinelepsis genus have numerous teeth which can be as much as 96 and the stalks are long which is unusual for the Loricariids.




Possesing thick large scutes, large gill openings and lacking an adipose fin. Round (normal) iris. Head long and flat. Short fins. Dorsal 11-7, Pectoral fin: 1-6; Ventrals, 1-5; Anal fin 6 (1 unbranched, 5 branched).

Plain charcoal grey colouration.

Aquarium Care
Grows rather large and can be territorial with conspecifics so would need a large tank to accommodate them. Provide hiding places such as large pipes. As they have a large metabolic rate, water changes would need to be adhered to.


Nothing to suggest that there will be a problem keeping alongside other fishes.

Sexual dimorphism
Not recorded.

May not be possible as this genera migrate to spawn, and scatter there eggs with no parental protection.

Omnivore: Vegetable foods such as courgette, cucumber etc. Aquarium staple foods such as tablets, pellets and frozen foods.

Rhinelepis: Greek, rhinos = nose + Greek, lepis = scale

Glossary of Terms:

Scutes: Bony covering.

Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
The paired fins just behind the head.
Ventral fins:
The paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins.

Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.
Odontodes: Hair - like stuctures on the body.
Gills: The organs utilized to obtain oxygen from the water.

Seidel, I. 2008. Back to Nature guide to L-catfishes, Ettlingen, Germany 208 p
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (04/2010).
Armbruster, J.W., 1998. Phylogenetic relationships of the suckermouth armored catfishes of the Rhinelepis group (Loricariidae: Hypostominae). Copeia 1998(3):620-636
Walters, Mark. Rhinelopsis 'The Pinecone Plec' The Journal of the Catfish Study Group. Volume 15, issue 3. September 2014.

Photo Credits

© Steven Grant

© Allan James @ ScotCat courtesy of Pier Aquatics

Factsheet 221

Rhinelepis strigosus
Common Name:
Bristly pine-cone pleco
South America : Paraná and Uruguay River basins. Type locality: dans le Parana et d’autres rXvières de la province de Corrientes [Argentina].
40cm. (16ins)
20-27°c (67-81°f.) 
6.0 - 7.5.
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                                                                                                                                  Factsheet 221 = updated December 15, 2018 , © ScotCat 1997-2018 Go to Top