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 nd to celebrate
the wonderful game and also some of the strange haircuts
on view, which I will explain later.
is is the smallest species in this genera. The genusLeporacanthicusis characterised bythe 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.
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
Heterodon, L172a, L172b
in the Xingu River basin. Type locality:
Brasilien, Est. Mato Grosso, Rio Xingú, Cachoeira
von Martius, oberer Xingú.
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 better colouration.
Care & Compatibility
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. 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 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".
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.
Mosquito larvae, shrimps, crustaceans
and tablet foods.
Hair - like stuctures on the body. Premaxilary: In
relation to the premaxilla (an upper jaw bone) e.g.
premaxillary tooth band. Supraoccipitalprocess:
Unpaired bone at the back of the skull, usually with
From the Latin; "lepus",
"leporis" meaning rabbit and from the Greek,
"akantha" meaning thorn. heterodon:Different tooth.
Cramer, C. Konn-Vetterlein, Daniel. Tanke,
Andreas.2013. Loricariids of the
Middle Rio Xingu.2nd. Edition.PantaRhei
GmbH. 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. Paulsen, Ole.
Pers. comm. July 2014.
Seidel, I. 2008. Back to Nature guide
to L-catfishes, Ettlingen, Germany 208 p.