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Otocinclus cocama Reis, R.E, 2004

Image contributors to this species:

Billy Grant (1) Allan James (5) Zhou Hang (2) Yakov Oksman (1) Stuart McIntosh (3)

ScotCat Sources:

Factsheet Etymology = Genus Etymology = Species

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

Dorsal spines (total): 2; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7 - 7; Anal spines: 1; Anal soft rays: 5; Vertebrae: 28. Can be distinguished from all its congeners by the following putative autapomorphies: unique, distinct colour pattern consisting of vertically elongated blotches spanning from the dorsal midline to the ventral border of flanks; complete lateral line, without the gap plates (midbody plates without lateral line perforations) present in other Otocinclus. Can also be differentiated by having high number of teeth (30-45 in premaxilla and 23-36 in dentary). Differs from Otocinclus huaorani, Otocinclus mura and Otocinclus bororo by having a small metapterygoid channel and one W-shaped mark in the caudal fin. Found in a medium size creek with clear water and lots of marginal vegetation. Otocinclus cocama is named after the Cocama- Cocamilla Indians that used to be dominant in the lower Ucayali and Marañon rivers. The present estimations point to a little more than 10,000 people in Peru, plus a few hundreds in Colombia and Brazil. During the last century, the Cocama culture has been mostly assimilated by the regional society, losing their language and identity, being thus threatened as a group. The name is treated as a noun in apposition. Aquarium Care: Keeping Otocinclus cocama in the aquarium is not too much of a problem but they do seem to be a bit more sensitive to the captive environment than other members of this genus. You should provide them however, as is with most Otocinclus, a planted tank, as they are found in the wild amongst abundant vegetation. Provide them with vegetable based foods or they will start to damage plants in the aquarium. Substrate can be of small rounded gravel or sand. I personally prefer the latter as their faeces (and it can be a lot with a vegetarian diet) sits atop this medium and can be hoovered off when carrying out your regular water changes.

Common Name:

Zebra Oto






Peru: Lower Ucayali and Marañon Rivers. Type locality: quebrada Yanayacu (approx. 04º55'S, 073º43'W), tributary to the caño of the cocha Supay in Jenaro Herrera, Provincia Requena, Departamento Loreto, Peru.


4.0cm. (1¾ins)


21-25°c (69-77°f.)




Reis, R.E. 2004 Otocinclus cocama, a new uniquely colored loricariid catfish from Peru (Teleostei: Siluriformes), with comments on the impact of taxonomic revisions to the discovery of new taxa. Neotrop. Ichthyol. 2(3):109-115.
Ferraris, C.J. Jr., 2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628.
ScotCat Factsheet no.13, Nov. 2007.



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