of the Heptapteridae family, the "Shrimp catfish"
used to be assigned to the family Pimelodidae,
and Heptapteridaeinae was a subfamily, which is now
been given full family status.
earliest version of the Heptapteridae family, as currently
conceived, goes back to the beginning of the last
century when Regan (1911). Based on osteological characters,
recognised within the Pimelodidae (in its old conception)
a group composed exclusively of Heptapterus,
Nannoglanis, Pimelodella, and Rhamdia
genera currently included in the family Heptapteridae.
One of the diagnostic features used by Regan (1911)
- "anterier and posterier rami of parapophysis
of fourth vertabra connected at the base only"
- is an early definition of one of the most conspicuous
synapomorphies for this group (cf Lundberg & McDade,
1986: Lundberg et al. 1991a). However it was only
17 years ago (1986) that Heptapteridae was recognised
as a monophyletic on basis of cladistic methodology
& McDade, (1986).
This genera has
22 described species recorded with the types species
being Imparfinis piperatus Eigenmann &
Norris, 1900, with one (I. lineatus) in Central
America. Most of them don't grow too big and can be
housed with most fish as long as they are not too
small with the danger of them being eaten.
Distrbution:Orinoco and Ucayali River basins. Type
Venezuela: Rio Tucuragua, near Caicara, Bolívar.
Orinoco and Ucayali River basins. Type locality:
Venezuela: Rio Tucuragua, near Caicara, Bolívar.
Slender species. Head depressed
dorsally, anterier part of body cylindrical. Posterier
part of body compressed laterally. Caudal peduncle
being more than twice as deep as wide. The barbels
are long with the maxillary barbels reaching the end
of the anal fin base, outer mental barbels, reaching
the end of the adpressed ventral fins. Inner mental
barbels to beyond the pectoral base. Eyes large dorsolateral
in position, elliptical with the longest axis being
horizontal. The lateral line complete and almost straight
without branches, reaching the base of the caudal
fin. Caudal fin long, deeply forked, the shortest
being half the length of the outer rays; there are
seven or eight branched rays, above and below one
fully developed simple ray, outside of which there
are some progressively and rudimentary simple rays.
Adipose fin well developed, not very long and almost
triangular in shape.
There is no distinctive colour
pattern, but rather diffuse markings, where the elsewhere
rather widely spaced large melanophores are closer
together: on the dorsal surface of the head, and poorly
defined dusky cross bars: one across the nape, one
at the base of the dorsal spine, one below the posterier
rays of the dorsal fin, one between the dorsal and
adipose bases; some blackish at the anterier part
of the adipose base, and a large patch below the posterier
part of the adipose. Laterally there are four dark
patches behind the pectoral fins, below the dorsal
fin, below the anterier part of the adipose fin and
on the caudal peduncle. Caudal fin pale beige with
dusky pigment at its base.
Care & Compatibility
An aquarium with hiding places
such as bogwood, rockwork, plants and a sand substrate.
A good water flow is recommended with good aeration
and filtration. Can be housed with small species such
as tetras as their small size does not present a hazard
but may eat small fry from other species.
is not present or scarcely developed in heptapterids.
Juveniles of most species are miniature replicas of
the adults. There are few data on the reproductive
cycle of heptapterids, probably due to its reduced
importance in commercial fisheries and aquarium imports.
These catfishes are externally fertilising and are
not known to practice parental care. Amaral et al.
(1998) described reproductive females of Pimelodella
pappenheimi burying in the clay palsades of the
sediments of a small coastal stream in southern Brazil,
a behavior adaptation to protect the offspring from
being washed away.
Small live, frozen and flake
Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the
rayed dorsal fin. Caudal fin: Tail. Caudal peduncle: The narrow part
of a fish's body to which the caudal or tail fin is
attached. Dorsal fin:The
primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body. Lateral line: A sensory line, along
the sides of the body. Maxillary barbels: Pertaining to
the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels). Melanophores: The pigment cells that
permit colour change, and the concentration of pigment
granules within these cells determine the type of
colour that is produced. Mental barbels: Pertaining to the
chin, on the lower jaw. (mental barbels). Pectoral: The paired fins just behind
the head. Ventral fins:
The paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal
Study Group UK. I.
Fuller, Informastion Sheet no. 13. 2001. 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.
2019. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication.
www.fishbase.org, ( 12/2019 ).
Roberto E. Reis, Sven O. Kullander, Carl J.
Ferraris: Check List of the Freshwater Fishes
of South and Central America. 2003.